Yesterday started one of the strongest basketball tournaments in Europe this summer, just 2 weeks before the biggest sport event – European Championship - which will be held in Belgrade from 16th to 25th September. It has symbolic name Efes Pilsner World Cup 4, and Turks did everything to host the best teams which they could provide in this moment.
Tony Parker, Krstic, Kirilenko, Turkoglu, Okur, Nesterovic, Brezec, Rebraca, Milicic, Jaric, Radmanovic and the other NBA players will try to improve, here in Istanbul, many weaknesses which they showed in last 2 weeks.
After brilliant roles on Pro Monte Super Cup just 3 days ago when he was voted for MVP of whole tournament, Nenad Krstic played today the worst game, just like whole team, since he started preparations with Serbian squad for next European Championship.
Serbia and Montenegro lost today against Italy, and that is solid surprise in Europe in this moment. Serbs are the main favorites for gold medal on next Championship and this loss is even more shocking if it is known that they came to Turkey with the strongest possible team (except, of course, Stojakovic and Divac).
A week ago Krstic was elected for MVP on Pro Monte Super Cup not because of his statistics, but because of decision of all coaches, from other teams, who decided to vote for him.
It was obvious that he was little surprised with this award.
But Krstic played very good then.
He is sharing minutes currently with Darko Milicic, Zeljko Rebraca, Dejan Tomasevic and Dejan Milojevic. It must be known that Rebraca has the most number of credits in this team. He is the most experienced center in this squad which guarantee him place of starting center, especially after great cooperation with head-coach Zeljko Obradovic during his European career when these 2 men won everything they could in Europe.
Darko Milicic used his minutes more then good in previous matches. This young man finally showed potential and it is expected that he will have solid minutes on Championship in Belgrade. The other 2 centers Tomasevic and Milojevic are respectable European players with great careers. Tomasevic is in National team since 1995 and he won every single medal with Serbian team in last decade. But, he is currently injured and his participation on European Championship is doubtful.
Milojevic was MVP of every single competition he played in last 3 years and his 20 minutes per game are guaranteed.
It is interesting to say that Zeljko Obradovic, Serbian head-coach, is one of the best coaches in European history. He won 5 Euroleagues (the best and the strongest European championship between clubs) – the most number in history, he was World Champion with Yugoslavia 1998, European Champion with Yugoslavia 1995 and 1997 and silver medalist on Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996.
Krstic really had bad minutes against Italy today. Rebraca started on position of starting center and scored 20 pts for almost 15 minutes. Krstic replaced him 3 minutes till the end of first quarter and played till the end of first half together with Milicic. He started good that period with 1 steal and superior defensive block on Gigli, but that was practically everything.
During 3rd quarter only Milicic played on centers position. Serbs made +15, but lost it all till the last 10 minutes. Krstic returned to the court when result was practically equalized and stayed till the end. That was period of Serbian agony when they couldn’t score even opened shoots, when they were without any solution in offense and in defense young Italian Mancinelli did whatever he wanted.
Krstic had few really bad passes mixed with several missed shoots from distance.
It looked that coach Obradovic wanted to leave the same 5 players on the court just to show them that they couldn’t do anything today. They were really inferior in that period even Krstic, Radmanovic, Jaric were on the court…
At the end Krstic scored 7 pts, but with lot of mistakes. He was "in black hole" like whole team. He didn’t use minutes even Milojevic and Tomasevic were not even on bench and this was really perfect chance.
Young Mancinelli from Italian team played match from dreams. One-handed dunks over complete Serbian centers line, unstoppable for 3…
ITALIA-SERBIA MONTENEGRO 79-69 (17-19, 35-39, 58-57)
Italy: Calabria 5 (1/4, 1/3), Basile 10 (1/4, 1/3), Galanda 3 (0/1, 1/1), Soragna 2 (1/2, 0/1), Marconato 6 (3/3), Pozzecco 9 (3/3, 1/3), Righetti 2 (1/1, 0/3), Bulleri 5 (1/5, 1/2), Mordente, Chiacig 19 (7/11), Gigli (0/1), Mancinelli 18 (3/5, 1/1).
Coach: Carlo Recalcati.
Serbia and Montenegro: Bodiroga 8 (4/5, 0/1), Pavlovic (0/1, 0/1), Avdalovic (0/2 for 3), Radmanovic 6 (2/6, 0/2), Rakocevic 7 (0/2, 1/5), Scepanovic (0/1), Jaric 10 (1/5, 2/2), Rebraca 20 (7/8), Krstic 8 (3/7), Popovic (0/1, 0/1), Milicic 7 (2/2), Gurovic 3 (0/1, 0/1).
Coach: Zelimir Obradovic
Rebounds: Italy 29 (Chiacig 5), S&M 33 (Jaric 7). Assists: Italy 16 (Pozzecco and Bulleri 4), S&M 10 (Jaric 3)