By Antonis Stroggylakis/ email@example.com
By beating Crvena Zvezda 3-1 in the ABA League Finals and winning the title for the first time in the history of the franchise, Buducnost was granted access to the 2018-2019 EuroLeague.
Their historic triumph brings the country of Montenegro back in the top-tier European competition for the first time since 2003 when Buducnost participated in the league. At the same time, Crvena Zvezda‘s failure to defend their trophy and win the ABA League for a fourth consecutive year means that we won’t see any Serbian teams in EuroLeague in the next season.
Eleven EuroLeague spots are a “lock” for the clubs with A license. One place goes to the EuroCup, ABA League, German League champion, another is reserved for a VTB League team (either the champion or the finalist if A license club CSKA Moscow wins the title) and an extra ticket is given to the Spanish team that will finish higher in ACB, apart from the A license clubs (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Baskonia).
The only way for a Serbian team to gain entrance to EuroLeague, considering the current criteria, is by winning the ABA League. That’s how Crvena Zvezda participated in the competition in the last two seasons when the teams were reduced to 16, and this is how Buducnost will now take their place in 2018-2019.
And what about Partizan Belgrade? Their constant financial problems and the subsequent quality decline in their roster made the team extremely less competitive this season when they failed to even qualify for the ABA League playoffs. In fact, it was the second time in the last three years that Partizan didn’t manage to make the postseason.
Things in European basketball are always fluid and, as of now, it is questionable (maybe even doubtful) if Panathinaikos will continue in EuroLeague after the developments in the recent shareholders’ meeting and the rift between the club and the organization. However, under the current circumstances and since the expansion of the competition is planned for 2019-2020, during the next season we will witness a different EuroLeague.
One without a Serbian team for the first time since 2001.