Author: Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]
Both national teams won over the Netherlands on Thursday and Friday, while Slovenia beat Montenegro 70:52 in Celje on Saturday evening.
Head coach Aleksander Sekulić scored an equal number of goals by sharing playing time. Krka big man Jurij Macura and Gregor Hrovat from JDA Dijon shared the team record with nine points. He was followed by Gregor Glas from Partizan NIS with eight points.
Down 23-6 at the end of the first period, the visitors effectively climbed into the lead before falling back to double digits in the final minutes of the preseason game. UCAM Murcia’s Nemanja Radovic and Valencia’s Jonah Radebaugh scored 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Both Luka Dončić and Goran Dragić were on the sidelines, but will likely be available when Slovenia return to play against Ukraine in Istanbul next Saturday. Montenegro will visit Serbia on the same day.
Several national teams preparing to qualify for EuroBasket 2022 and the 2023 FIFA World Cup were in action on Saturday as Finland beat Belgium 80-71 and Hungary beat Georgia 78-75 in friendly return games.
After losing Thursday’s preseason game 75-71, the team led by Lassi Tuovi built a double-digit lead in the third quarter with the help of the Tampere crowd. Tennessee’s Olivier Nkamhoua led the way with 19 points. Baxi Manresa’s Elias Valtonen had 15 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two assists. Captain Shawn Huff scored seven of his nine points in the first quarter.
For the losers, Pierre-Antoine Gillet of Filou Oostende stood out with 18 points, six rebounds and two steals. His teammate in the permanent original of the Basketball Champions League, Haris Bratanović, added 16 points. After splitting games with Finland, the Lions will host Germany in their next friendly on Wednesday.
Hungary played 45 minutes behind closed doors in Kecskemet and doubled their victory against Georgia after Friday’s 89-88 victory. After playing at international level for the first time since September 2016 yesterday, Adam Hanga sat out the bottom half of the series. Another warm-up game at home to Slovakia follows on Friday, while Georgia and head coach Ilias Zouros return to training in Tbilisi.
Photo credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL