I realized it now, in the beginning of the match.
But before my realizing, the team warmed up.
The first score of the game was done by Vrabac from free throw (0:1). Metalac replied with a 3-pointer (3:1), then Vitkovac quickly scored two of them (3:6). Metalac equalized (6:6) then a row of missed chances came on both sides. Metalac sped up, took the lead (10:6), Partizan equalized with the baskets of Đumić and Vitkovac (10:10). What is more, we took the lead with the 3-pointer of our new team captain, Marinković (10:13). Partizan’s defense worked very well, the opponent’s attempt were all blocked. In the meantime Vrabac scored again (11:15). Metalac could score almost only from free throws (12:15). Magdevski and Vrabac increased our difference to two-digit (12:22). Koprivica also scored (14:23), that was the end of the first quarter.
It was so good to see the basketball team fighting, battling, spitting out their lungs, putting their hearts out to the ground. After all those scandals around the footbal team and all those setbacks the zest of life came back a bit to the weary Average Fan.
I’ll be honest: I was worried a bit for the team. Predrag Danilović resigned, Duško Vujošević had to stand up from the bench, half of the team has also left (Saša Pavlović, Milan Mačvan, Milenko Tepić, Nikola Milutinov, Nemanja Bezbradica). The new trainer, Petar Božić had to re-build the team from scratch, under enormous pressure. But it seems he is doing his job well. The new players seemed to work great with the team, those who were set aside earlier (e.g. Milutinović) brought a nice surprise.
In the beginning of the second quarter Cvetković immediately got a technical foul - upon the slow motion replay it was because of a strong block. Well, yes, at this moment you could be more or less sure about well, ahem, interesting referee judgements coming up during the game.
Welcome to Adriatic League...
The standing was 17:25 and it didn’t change for a while. We blocked all attempts of Metalac, but on the other side we could not score at all. The silence was broken by the home team (20:25).
For some unknown reason the floor of the Valjevo sports hall was very slippery. It was probably polished and painted right before the season, but it all made the players fall every now and then. Yet it brought exciting scenes sometimes, the teams wrestling on the floor for the ball.
At 23:27 Milutinović scored a 3-pointer (23:30), then Koprivica could score from free throw twice in a row (24:33). Everything was smooth, we kept up our 7-8-point advantage. We finished the first half with 28:37, after Magdevski’s free throw.
We kept it up even in the third quarter. Cvetković increased the difference to 10 points (32:42).
Metalac reduced it, but Milutinović set it back (34:44). Metalac sped up again, they reduced it now to 41:44. They equalized (44:44). Cvetković quickly scored a 3-pointer (44:47), then another one (46:50). Metalac didn’t give it up. 48:50, then 51:50, they took the lead. 54:50, then at the end of the quarter, with an alley-oop they increased it to 56:50.
Then in the last quarter to 58:50... They even got a free throw, 59:50...
But you must never give up on Partizan.
Vrabac. 59:57. Here Metalac scored, but so did Koprivica (61:59).
Then Marinković equalized (61:61).
We took the lead! Vitkovac, 61:63!
Metalac equalized (63:63), Koprivica took back the lead from free throw (63:64).
And at this point an amazingly surrealistic scene came.
Only a few seconds were left. Metalac’s player fell on the slippery floor, but he still possessed the ball. Everyone jumped there, but the player laying on the floor threw the ball with a tricky movement to his teammate who was standing a bit further. He got it, and while everyone was watching in shock, this player ran up, jumped and dunked.
Only one second was left.
Or not. Because the clock suddenly switched to 15 seconds. Then to 01.5 seconds. Then to 2 minutes and 20 seconds. In the meantime Petar Božić asked for time-out. Finally all numbers disappeaered from the clock, at this point Metalac’s trainer also asked for time-out.
Go home, Adriatic League, you’re drunk.
Then the clock could be returned back to life. 1 second is left. Both teams run up, two players clash... and I swear, the referee gave free throw to Metalac on purpose.
Partizan has got absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, despite the end result. They just barely missed the victory, with a brand new team and a brand new coach. It’ll be better by time! Well done, boys!
KK Metalac: Malešević (14), Pot (9), Čampara, Kutlešić (15), Janković, Majstorović (8), Jevtović (7), Jošilo (11), Rakičević, Đukanović, Babović (3), Gabrić
KK Partizan: Cvetković (13), Aranitović, Marinković (5), Petrov, Vitkovac (11), Đumić (2), Koprivica (8), Perović (4), Magdevski (6), Glišić, Vrabac (7), Milutinović (8)
Current standing of the League:
1. Budućnost Voli 2 points
2. Union Olimpija 2 points
3. Cedevita 2 points
4. Zadar 2 points
5. CZ 2 points
6. Tajfun Šentjur 2 points
7. Metalac 2 points
8. Sutjeska 1 point
9. Partizan 1 point
10. Mega Leks 1 point
11. Cibona 1 point
12. Igokea 1 point
13. MZT Skopje 1 point
14. Krka 1 point