Partizan and Zvezda ready for a new episode

Partizan NIS and Crvena Zvezda, the teams with the most titles in the ABA League, each with 6 titles, will meet again in the final. An interesting thing is that Partizan won the last final in 2013 and Crvena Zvezda won the first title in 2015. The final will be played in the best-of-five system, with the first two matches at Stark Arena.

Obradovic’s team dominated the competition this year, suffering only two defeats in the regular season. In the playoffs instead, fatigue was felt after the series with Real Madrid. In the quarterfinals, it went 2-1 against Studentski centar, after losing the first match at home 83-84, followed by an away victory at the limit of 81-79, Exum-Nunnaly scoring a total of 47 points. The decisive match had no history, 112-83 with astonishing percentages of 81.8% from the 2-point line and 58.6% from the 3-point line. In the semifinal with Cedevita, the Black and White took advantage of the home field by winning both home matches easily, 85-70 and 90-71, losing the away check 95-83. Obradovic has a long rotation at his disposal, this can also be seen in the figures from the ABA League, the only one in double digits is Dante Exum (11.7 points) with James Nunnaly (9.9 points) and Mathias Lessort (9.6 points) being very close.

Crvena Zvezda finished the regular season very close to Partizan with only three defeats in 26 rounds, only one defeat at home. On the way to the final, there were no big emotions, eliminating Zadar in the quarterfinals in two matches, 100-73 and 74-63, and in the semifinals they didn’t give Buducnost any chance with 2 extremely clear victories 93-55 and 97-56. Dusko Ivanovic has at his disposal an extremely talented team, which currently did not perform at the desired level with players such as Facundo Campazzo (13.2 points, 6.3 assists), Filip Petrusev (11.6 points, 5.9 rebounds), Nemanja Nedovic (11.5 points) or Luca Vildoza (9.6 points, 4.0 assists).

In the direct matches of this season, each won the home match in the ABA League and each won the away match in the Euroleague. Crvena Zvezda won in the semifinal of the Korac Cup in Nis, winning the trophy afterwards.

The end of the season belonged to Partizan, being one step away from eliminating Real Madrid, although the lack of fatigue is felt, it is their chance to stop the dominance of Dusko Ivanovic’s team and to win a new title in the ABA after a 10-year break. Crvena Zvezda has shown that it knows how to win, including away at Partizan, so there are chances that we will again have a final decision in match 5 like last year, I think that Partizan leaves with a slight advantage given the atmosphere created around the team after the playoffs of the Euroleague and there are chances to win this season.

Valentin Petruta

Photo: EuroLeague