After defeating the reigning VTB United League champion, Loko had a good chance to compete for third place on the final day of the Super Cup. However, on the third game day, the Petersburgers beat Partizan, on the one hand, big, and on the other – not big enough to put Zeljko Obradovich’s wards in last place in the group.
However, in the Super Cup, the main thing for the wards of Alexander Sekulich is gaining experience. And the experience of international matches is now worth the weight of expensive imported products. So the game with Mega seemed both interesting and useful. Moreover, this Serbian team also relies on youth – there is only one player in its composition, American Ahmad Rory, older than 1999.
The starting segment was left to the players in the metrosexual pink uniform, but then the main point guard of Loko Alexander Shcherbenev confidently took the reins of the game into his own hands. At first, like a nostalgic wolf from an electronic game of the last century, he carefully put a pair of three-point eggs in the basket. And then, together with Andrey Martyuk, he built a chic parachute with a foul – and he acted as not a passer, but a catch. However, in the second quarter, Shcherbenev worked in this bundle already in the traditional role, leaving Martyuk to effectively complete the attack.
In the first half, Loko confidently held both an advantage of 8-11 points and a three-point percentage above the 50 percent waterline. Martyuk again practiced in the format of an all–round monster – 4 rebounds, 3 block shots and 3 assists by the big break. And Shcherbenev, Jaylen Barford and Dmitry Uzinsky, as in the match with Zenit, took on the main sniper load. At the end of the second quarter, the Serbs reduced the gap to “-5”, but Uzinsky, after a cool transfer of Shcherbenev, plugged the siren with another three-pointer.
In general, there were more accurate passes and accurate three–pointers from Krasnodar in the first half than in other test matches in Turkey – 9 and 15, respectively. As a result, a spectacular 50 points at the end of two quarters. However, in defense with the leader of Mega Malcolm Casalon managed to cope only sporadically. But one of these episodes will surely be included in the final hit parade of the best moments of the Super Cup – Martyuk sheathed the American so that the latter scrubbed himself off the parquet for a long time.
Immediately after the break, the angry Casalon played out so that there was no antidote for a long time. After two accurate three–pointers in his performance, Mega led – 57:52. Barford decided that the best technique against scrap was to choose a heavier piece of iron himself, and began to respond to each hit of the defender of Mega with his own. The leader of the Krasnodar team made 3 three-pointers in 3 minutes and allowed Loko to stay within a small gap.
And yet, at the beginning of the final quarter, the Serbs led solidly – +9. Very timely, Zakhar Vedishchev realized first a branded three-pointer from 9 meters, and then an equally branded pass. However, Loko’s defense was still not going well.
But Sergei Dolinin had a great stretch – a three-pointer, a block shot and an interception, Darral Willis shot the ball from above, and only 2 points remained from the Serbian advantage, 80:78. And 2 minutes before the end, the captain of Loko Vladislav Yemchenko made a three–point shot – and the score was even, 90:90!
In response to the hardest three–point hit by Andri Grbovich – through the flying Emchenko, at the end of possession – Shcherbenev earned an unsportsmanlike foul. Both free throws are on the spot, plus possession, which Willis transformed into a couple of accurate shots worth 1 point. 94:93 in favor of Krasnodar – and 57 seconds before the siren.
…Barford defended himself well against a huge opponent and gave a good pass to Martyuk. However, there was an offensive loss – and even complete with a foul when fighting for the ball…
Fantastic! Casalon, who did not smear the whole match and scored 29 points in the end, did not score both penalties! In response, however, Shcherbenev realized only one free throw out of two – 95:93 and the last possession from Mega. Which the same, but slightly floated Casalon, completed with a throw into the milk.
After the match, Krasnodar fans, for whom the club management organized a transfer to Moscow, chanted “Mo-lod-tsy!” for a long time, and the players chanted the red-green sector all the time.
Loko’s October prospects should be viewed with restrained and reasonable optimism. And it’s better to watch them live in the Krasnodar Basket Hall. Tickets and season tickets are for loco. The first home match is already on October 3 against the newcomer of the VTB United League, the MBA team.