Mega MIS basketball players made a crucial step for the playoffs of the ABA League, as they defeated Split by more than four points in the 23rd round at the Ranko Žeravica Sports Hall and thus secured the advantage in the head-to-head clash with the team from Gripe – 90:85 ( 23:20, 20:21, 26:26, 21:18). Marko Barać’s team played another great match, they coped well with a formidable rival and in the end, were the best when it was needed the most. It all went in the last few minutes when Mega managed to gain a capital advantage and achieve a crucial victory with a solid defense and intelligent solutions in the attack. They reached a positive score of 12-11 and came on the threshold of the playoffs.

With the victory over Split, the Mega MIS basketball players completed the best series in the club’s history in the Adriatic League. They recorded their ninth victory in the last ten games and tied five wins in a row for the second time on regional courts.

Malcolm Cazalon played a great match and was the most efficient in the winning team, with a PIR of 26. The young French basketball player recorded 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Matej Rudan was the top scorer, he excelled in key moments and finished the match with 19 points and four rebounds for a PIR of 24.

In addition to 14 points, Danko Branković had five rebounds, while captain Luka Cerovina added 13 points, along with four boards. In the end, Nikola Đurišić scored vital points from the penalty and collected 10 points and six assists.

In the Split team, Tyrell Nelson scored 19 points, Lewis Sullivan and Josip Jukić added 13 each, while Mate Kalajžić scored 12.

The guests opened well and took advantage through Nelson and Sullivan, but Mega tightened their defense in the middle of the opening section and, with a great roll from Branković in the attack, turned the game around. They led by five points but went to the break at 23:20 after a layup by Uskoković in the last seconds. A big fight continued even after returning from the first break. Mega was in control, but Split wouldn’t let the hosts escape. At the end of the first half, he reached a turning point, but Kazalon made sure with a three-pointer that Barać’s team met the break with a surplus (43:41).

Like the first, Split opened the second half well and took a 54:49 lead after four minutes of play. Nevertheless, the Mega basketball players reacted in time and regained the advantage with a 9:2 run, and then with two minutes to go, a three-pointer from Cazalon gained their five-point lead to meet the decisive 10 minutes with a score of 69:67. As expected, a tense battle followed in the last quarter. The game was played point for point, and the teams took turns leading. Through Rudan, Mega managed to take the lead with 85:81 with three minutes to go, but it was not enough for a peaceful ending. Nevertheless, Barać’s chosen ones remained calm, played selflessly in defense and smartly in attack, and Đurišić secured the victory in the final with three hit free throws and an excellent defense in the last seconds and gave Mega the edge against Split in the playoff race.

In the next round of the ABA league, the Mega MIS basketball players will welcome the defender of the Adriatic throne Crvena Zvezda in the Hall of Sports Ranko Žeravica, and the match is scheduled for the third of April, from 6:00 pm.

Mega MIS: Paunović, Branković 14 (5 rb), Rudan 19 (24 PIR), Uskoković 4, Cazalon 14 (8 rb, 5as, 26 PIR), Đurišić 10, Kovačević 6, Cerovina 13, Rorie 3, Grbović 6, Terzić , Mušikić 1

Split: Sullivan 13, Gizdavdčić, Kalajžić 12, Tišma, Runjić, Ukić 7, Vuko 9, Shorter 5, Jukić 13, Nelson 19, Mavra 7

Photo: Mega MIS/Ivica Veselinov