Belgrade, Serbia – The last Adidas Next Generation Tournament which provides a direct ticket for the ANGT finals in Cologne, this May, started today at FMP Arena in Belgrade. Eight teams from six different countries will be battling in the next three days for the privilege to take part in the finals in Cologne.
The event was opened with a thrilling game between Panathinaikos Athens and Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, that came down to the wire, finishing 69-68 for the Greeks. Stavros Polatoglou (2002), a 6-10 center scored the game-winner under the basket for PAO after Lazar Joksimovic (2002), a 6-8 center, hit only one of two free throws for Crvena Zvezda with eight seconds left in the game. Marios Giotis (2003), a 6-4 shooting guard led the winners in scoring with 21 points, shooting 3-of-6 on 3s, while his teammate Emmanouil Kontoudis (2002), a smart 6-3 point guard, scored 11 points, dishing out eight assists (8-of-10 from the charity line). Crvena Zvezda was led by Nikola Manojlovic (2002), a 6-7 combo guard, who finished with 19 points, six boards and six assists, but at times Manojlovic was careless with the ball, turning it over seven times.
After a slow start in the first half Partizan Belgrade pulled away from Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv in a third quarter blowout (34-13) to win the game 81-60. Mihailo Petrovic (2003), a 6-1 speedy point guard led the winners in scoring with 22 points, shooting 9-of-14 from the field, adding four rebounds, four assists and three steals, providing the needed energy on both ends of the floor in the second half. Stefan Todorovic (2002), a 6-6 combo guard with high basketball IQ, helped in the win with 21 points, four rebounds and nine assists, while his teammate Nikola Radovanovic (2003), a 6-9 left-handed, skinny forward with a developing frame, added 19 points and seven boards, shooting 7-of-9 from the charity line. Harel Rinski (2002), a 6-6 perimeter player who can play from 1 to 3 at the youth level, thanks to his size, good ball handling skills and ability to knock down shots from distance, finished with 16 points and four rebounds in the loss, shooting 4-of-7 on 3s. Amit Aharoni (2002), a 6-1 smart and aggressive point guard, son of the head coach of Maccabi – Oren Aharoni, added 11 points, four boards and seven assists.
In a close contest after three quarters of play, CFBB Paris managed to hold Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana scoreless in the last nine minutes of the fourth, winning 75-60. Rudy Demahis-Ballou (2003), a 6-3 point guard with long arms, was the leading scorer of the winners, finishing with 16 points, seven assists and four steals, committing only two turnovers in his 35 minutes on the floor. Brice Dessert (2003), a 6-10 center posted a solid double-double – 14 points and 15 rebounds, while his teammates, the 6-7 small forwards Ousmane Dieng (2003) and Armel Traore (2003) both added 12 points, as Dieng grabbed seven boards and came up with four steals. Alen Malovcic (2002), an intelligent 6-7 small forward finished with 17 points (eight fouls drawn, 7-of-8 from the charity line) for Cedevita, while his Russian teammate Egor Sytnikov (2002), a 6-4 shooting guard demonstrated his quick release and ability to shoot off the catch from distance, hitting 4 of his 5 shots from that range, finishing with 15 points and five boards. Matej Bosnjak (2002), a 6-9 center, added a double-double in the loss – 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Mega Bemax Belgrade started the tournament strong, topping Asseco Arka Gdynia 107-90. Mihailo Musikic (2002), a 7-0 center with a solid body led the winners with 20 points, two boards and eight assists (six fouls drawn, 4-of-6 from the free-throw line), while his teammate Marko Krtinic (2002), a 6-7 power forward finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Luka Paunovic (2002), a 6-6 shooting guard added 15 points and five boards, while Nikola Djurisic (2004), a 6-8 shooting guard, was one board shy away from a double-double, finishing with 14 points, nine boards and four assists. Piotr Lis (2002), a 6-1 point guard led Asseco in scoring with his 18 points, while Wojciech Tomaszewski (2002), a 6-5 shooting guard added 17 points, eight boards and three steals in the loss. Kacper Gordon (2002), a 6-1 combo guard recorded a double-double -16 points and 11 assists.
Crvena Zvezda bounced back from the stunning loss in its first game at the event with an important win against Maccabi Tel Aviv 79-68. Manojlovic was again the leader and the highest scorer for Zvezda, finishing with 18 points, five boards and seven assists. He is the clutch player for his team, played the game with big concentration, turning the ball over only once. Joksimovic added 15 points and four rebounds, while Milutin Ostojic (2002), a 6-3 point guard had a good all-around performance, recording 14 points, six boards and eight assists. Yuval Levin (2003), a 6-6 shooting guard kept Maccabi in the game with his impressive shooting performance in the first half. Levin finished the game with 26 points (6-of-8 on 3s) and five boards, as he didn’t play much in the second half due to a foot injury occurred in the third. Rinski added 15 points in the loss, shooting 3-of-10 from distance. Zvezda managed to limit the Maccabi’s floor general Aharoni to only six shots from the field, missing five of them, finishing with only three points and seven assists.
Partizan ran past Panathinaikos to get its second victory for the day 102-63. Radovanovic led the winners in scoring with 20 points, shooting 3-of-5 on 3s (eight fouls drawn). Lazar Stefanovic (2002), a 6-6 small forward scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds, while his teammate Dordije Jovanovic (2003), a 6-3 Montenegrin guard added 15 points, shooting 3-of-4 on 3s for the win. The only light in the tunnel for Panathinaikos was the performance of Giotis who finished the game with 25 points (nine fouls drawn), but shooting 9-of-20 from the field and his teammate Kontoudis who recorded 16 points, five boards and four assists.
On Saturday Partizan and Crvena Zvezda will face each other in a classic Serbian derby game that will seal the first place in Group A, while in Group B CFBB Paris will play against Mega Bemax in a game that most probably will decide who will be the second contender, playing at the final on Sunday.
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