Another bad night for Cibona, who lost on Wednesday at home against AEK Athens by 72-81 in the ninth round of group B. The team from Zagreb is going through a difficult situation both in the Euroleague and the National Championship, and it seems that every day, things are getting worse in Cibona. In a season full of promises, young and talented players with little European experience, they failed once again to produce some output. Just for
one brief moment in the second quarter, Cibona looked like the team that could do some damage, but it lasted for only four minutes. Losing three of nine games in Euroleague, losing for the first time ever twice to the same team in Croatian championship (Dona) there is no way out. Or so it seems.
With problems inside the team (Sesar, Giricek, Prkacin), and coach problems,
Cibona slumped to its worst year in Europe for ages. Even though AEK came to town without one of its best players, Michalis Kakiuosis due to a knee injury, Cibona never showed up. Even though the Greek team did not play their best, it was still too much for Cibona.
Only for a short period of time, Cibona took what looked like a commanding lead (28-17), but it did not last for long. AEK came back with a 15-1 run. Ibrahim Kutluay scored three three-pointers with 13 points in the second quarter, while he didn't get to score in the first quarter.
Arthur Lee and Tunji Awojobi scored 12 of the 16 points by Cibona in the second quarter, and Josip Sesar ended the first quarter with 0 points, and scored only four in the second period. Gordan Giricek had a miserable night as well with only 14 points, connecting 6-of-17, and missing all his 8
three-pointer attempts. Once again, Cibona had a horrible performance from the 6,25 line: only 2-of-17.
AEK went ahead in the third quarter, but Cibona managed to tie the score again (58-58) at the beginning of the fourth quarter; but when Nikos Chatzis hit a three with the possession time expiring, AEK went up once again, 61-58 and this time it was for real. In the end, the scoreboard displayed a 72-81 which was a faithful reflection to what had been seen on court.
Wednesday, January 10, 2001
Neven Berticevic, Sportske Novosti, Zagreb