'Dubi' got the party started
Few players have a connection with their team's fans as intense, honest and exciting as Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia Basket. Dubljevic first came to Valencia in 2012 at age 20, having been chosen to the 2011-12 All-EuroCup Second Team with Buducnost VOLI Podgorica the year before. This is his sixth season with Valencia and it saw Dubljevic add to his now legendary EuroCup career by setting several all-time records and adding to others he already owned. Dubljevic is the competition's career leader in scoring, rebounding and performance index rating. He has also been chosen to the All-EuroCup First Team twice, to the All-EuroCup Second Team another time and most importantly, he is now a two-time EuroCup champion, having lifted the trophy with Valencia in 2014 and 2019.
Dubljevic, nicknamed 'Dubi', is universally loved in Valencia for his basketball skills, character and unique connection with the stands. He celebrates every basket with great enthusiasm and feels so comfortable in Valencia, playing for Valencia Basket, that he doesn't even consider offers to play anywhere else.
"When I was little, I dreamt about playing in the best team in the world, but I didn't know which it was. Now I know that this club I dreamt about was Valencia Basket," Dubljevic said at the beginning of the season. "I had many offers since I got here, but I always said that my first option is always Valencia. When I got here, I loved the city, the club and the fans and for me, this is the best club in the world. I want to play here for the rest of my life."
That loyalty can be seen on the court, especially in important games. With the 7DAYS EuroCup Finals tied 1-1 and Valencia facing a do-or-die Game 3 against ALBA Berlin, Dubljevic had one of the best games of his career. He came off the bench and delivered an outstanding performance – 18 points on 6-of-7 two-point shooting, 2-of-3 from downtown, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 27 – in less than 24 minutes. But the best was yet to come.
Dubljevic celebrated the title the same way he did when Valencia won the Spanish League title in 2017; he found DJ Fenoca, the resident DJ at Valencia's home games, going to his booth and grabbing a microphone. DJ Fenoca played Gala's Freed From Desire and Dubljevic started to sing, dance and jump up and down with hundreds of Valencia fans, turning "La Fonteta" into an improvised dancefloor. Then he took the EuroCup trophy where the fans were and shared it with them. Dubljevic took literally hundreds of selfies with fans before he returned to the locker room.
Two of the players who celebrated the victory most where Joan Sastre and Fernando San Emeterio. Both of them had lost two finals and celebrated big. Sastre brought his parents and brother from Palma de Mallorca and was emotional after the game. San Emeterio was seen borrowing a chair with four wheels from the press seats and riding all over "La Fonteta" as if he was a little kid.
Perhaps the most emotional player after the game was Antoine Diot, who endured injury problems for two years, but came back in time to play a critical role in the finals, particularly in Game 3. Diot had 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals - the latter number seeing him tie a EuroCup Finals record. The taste of glory was even sweeter for him.
Valencia is set to celebrate at Town Hall tomorrow. Next stop in European competitions: the 2019-20 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague!