01 September, 2016
30 April, 2017
Vuk Radivojevic
to read

Mutual respect underlines Balkan derby between Igokea and Mornar

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA & MONTENEGRO (Basketball Champions League) – Igokea and Mornar will travel the 480 kilometres that separate the town of Aleksandrovac in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the town of Bar in Montenegro a minimum of four times this upcoming season.

The first two games between them, on 27 September in Aleksandrovac and two days later in Bar, will determine which team can aspire to take part in the Regular Season of the Basketball Champions League. Igokea and Mornar clash in Qualification Round 1 and the winner of the tie will go up against JK Besiktas Istanbul in Qualification Round 2, with a berth in Group D awaiting as the ultimate prize.

“We will get to know Mornar Bar well this upcoming season, since apart from the Qualification Round 1 tie, we will play against them in the ABA league as well,” Igokea sports director Pavle Corovic told www.championsleague.basketball. It will be their first season in the regional league and we know for a fact that they will have an ambitious, strong team.”

Mornar head coach Djordjije Pavicevic confirms that his team is ambitious, but holds Igokea in great esteem: “Geographically, we could not get a better draw,” Pavicevic told www.championsleague.basketball, “but as far as the strength of the opponent goes, Igokea will not be an easy rival for us. They have had a great team over the last couple of seasons and they are more experienced. But as with all our rivals, we will try to force them to adapt to our style of play.”

“The fact that the second leg will be played in Bar is a big plus for us. We had 4,000 fans in the stands at the final games of last season's Montenegrin championship and I can guarantee that you will see the same picture once our European campaign starts. Also the atmosphere at our gym is always great, without a single incident.

Young winger Nemanja Krstić will be familiar with both sides in this tie as he has just moved from Igokea to Mornar

“(Potential QR2 opponent) Besiktas is also a tough draw, but if we want to play in a big competition like the Basketball Champions League we have to defeat big teams. The qualifiers are early in the season, it is a great time to surprise some of the favourites in the competition.”

Igokea of course hope that their rivals will not get to enjoy the Basketball Champions League in Bar further than September, because they have their own plans for the competition.

“Our appearance in the Basketball Champions League is another step in our long-term growth plan,”Corovic said. “Igokea wants to raise its own players, bring in a couple of more experienced players and keep the most of the team intact. That way we could have a competitive team in all the competitions we play.”

Interestingly one of those young players whom Igokea had signed in the summer of 2015, 23-year-old small forward Nemanja Krstic, will be in the limelight during this qualification tie since he agreed terms with Mornar only this week and will go up against his former team.