The Adriatic League post-season kicked off with Game 1 of the series between top seeded KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica and BC Mega Leks. Heading into the game, Buducnost was touted as the heavy favorite to advance. They were, after all, not only the regular season champions but also swept Mega Leks, winning both of their encounters in the season. As they say, however, basketball post-seasons are a different animal altogether. Despite playing on hostile soil, Mega Leks dug deep and came away with the 81-85 upset victory, much to the chagrin of the Podgorica fans in attendance.
What a game! The green shirts knew from the get-go that coming into the game they would have to come up with some spectacular basketball, and that they did. They seized the initiative from the opening whistle and Mega Leks’ Danilo Nikolic set the tone early by knocking down three triples as early as the first quarter. They pushed ahead, 15-24 at the end of the first quarter.
Buducnost would not be easily distracted by what transpired in the first period. While Nikolic did catch them off guard with his hot hand, the home team started the second frame ready for action. They put together a 9-0 run of their own to quickly tie-up the score. As expected both teams played hard and settled down to a 43-42 score at halftime in favor of Buducnost.
After the halftime break, it was Julius Jenkins turn to heat up from downtown and the Buducnost import made it rain. He sank 7-of-10 shots from beyond the arc, en route to his team-high 26 points. This game was about offense. While Jenkins had little trouble finding open looks, Mega Leks’ forward Rade Zagorac attacked the basket with impunity. His crossover gave his defender sore ankles for sure. He ended the night with a game-high 27 points. He was fouled several times by Buducnost, but he made them pay by sinking 6-of-7 free-throws.
In a game this close and this tight, it comes as no surprise that the action would boil down to the fourth and final period. With just seconds remaining in regulation, Mega Leks was up 80-83. However, they fouled Buducnost guard Omar-Sharif Cook while he was in the middle of a three-point shot attempt and sent him to the line for three shots. Fortunately for Mega Leks Cook was only able to convert on one of them, the third shot, and they had possession of the ball. Buducnost had no choice but to commit an intentional foul to control the shot clock, but Nikola Ivanovic came through for Mega Leks and converted on both of his attempts.
The 2015-16 storyline just had an interesting plot twist with this turn of events. Mega Leks was able to capture the home court advantage and have mustered some much-needed momentum as well. Can Buducnost recover from this stunning loss as champions should, or will Mega Leks emerge as a dark horse contender to hoist the gold above their heads?