Crvena Zvezda shoots for sixth straight ANGT Belgrade title

Feb 24, 2016 by David Hein, Print
Crvena Zvezda shoots for sixth straight ANGT Belgrade title

U18 Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade is shooting for its sixth consecutive Euroleague Basketball ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT Qualifying Tournament – Belgrade title and with it a ticket to the EB ANGT Finals in Berlin. Zvezda is the only team in the ANGT Belgrade field to have won the continental title. Zvezda is joined by U18 Spars Sarajevo (2012-13 and 2014-15) and U18 ALBA Berlin (2008-09) as the three teams in Belgrade that have previously appeared at the ANGT Finals. The winner of the ANGT Belgrade tourney will secure a spot at the ANGT Finals in May along with U18 Mega Leks Belgrade, U18 Real Madrid and U18 Zalgiris Kaunas, which advanced by winning the ANGT Qualifying Tournaments in Rome, L’Hospitalet and Kaunas, respectively. The three-day ANGT Belgrade tips off on February 26.

The field in Belgrade has changed drastically from last season with just four teams returning – Zvezda, Berlin, U18 Partizan Belgrade and U18 Zemun Belgrade. New to the event in Belgrade are Spars, U18 FC Bayern Munich, U18 Cedevita Zagreb and U18 Buducnost VOLI Podgorica. The format has the eight teams divided into two groups, which will play a round-robin format, from which the top two teams of each group advance to the semifinals. ALBA, Buducnost, Zvezda and Spars will compete in Group A and Cedevita, Bayern, Partizan and Zemun square off in Group B.

The last team other than Zvezda to win the ANGT Belgrade was U18 FMP Belgrade in 2010 , which was the club’s third straight title in the Serbian capital. FMP also reached the 2010 final. Zvezda has owned the ANGT Belgrade since then with five titles in a row, including a 22-game winning streak going into this year’s competition. Zvezda’s last defeat at the ANGT Belgrade came during the 2010-11 season – 85-69 at the hands of U18 Beovuk 72. After winning the 2013-14 ANGT Finals crown, Zvezda returned to the title game last season before losing to Real Madrid. ALBA finished last season’s ANGT Belgrade in third place with a 3-2 record. The German club played at the 2008-09 ANGT Finals as the host. Buducnost returns to the competition after sitting out last season. The Montenegrin club was 2-2 and finished fifth in Belgrade in 2013-14. Spars reached the ANGT Finals last season with a wild card after grabbing third place at ANGT Rome with a 3-1 record. The Bosnia and Herzegovina club went 2-1 at the ANGT Finals last season with wins over Zalgiris and U18 Unicaja Malaga.

Cedevita finished fifth at the ANGT Rome last season with a 2-2 record. Bayern was 1-2 at ANGT Kaunas in 2014-15. Partizan lost to Zvezda in last season’s ANGT Belgrade final and finished with a 3-2 record, while Zemun was fourth in Belgrade last year at 2-3.