VRBANC (CIBONA) vs DRAPER (CEDEVITA)
Cedevita Zagreb managed to exploit it’s homecourt advantage and gain 1:0 lead over local rival Cibona Zagreb in the semifinal clash of Croatian Championship.
Led by virtually unstoppable PG Dontaye Draper (20 points, 7 received fouls), who was able to find all possible cracks in Cibona defense, Cedevita was relatively convincing in the first half of action.
However, on the wings of the phenomenal 21-year old F Tomislav Zubcic (17pts+9reb+3stl+3blk) who was inserted to play nominal point guard position (standing 7’0”!), Cibona managed to rally back and narrow the halftime margin to only 2 points (39:41).
In the second half Cedevita managed to fully insert it’s typical offensive style with Draper distributing the ball to the shooting trio of Wright-Bazdaric-Rudez which was able to convert open long distance shots.
But in the closing minutes Cibona took advantage of Cedevita’s missed free throws (Petrovic, Wright) and was again able to rally back with it’s 22-year old captain Bojan Bogdanovic (17 points, 5-14 from the floor) missing the lay-up and then the desperation three-point shot just before the final buzzard.
Despite Cibona’s PF Leon Radosevic pale performance (6 points on 2-9 shooting, 2 rebounds) general impression is that Cibona should be able to match Cedevita well and will likely continue to exploit it’s obvious rebounding advantage.
Game 2 of the this heated series between bitter local rivals is scheduled for Sunday (20.30 CET).
R.I.P. Nikola Jović (1996-2022) Tribute