The streak ends for Dejan Kravic

2022-04-13T11:55:51+00:00 2022-04-13T12:04:53+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

13/Apr/22 11:55

After three straight Basketball Champions League titles, Dejan Kravic bows out along with Unicaja

By Johnny Askounis/

The 2021-22 Basketball Champions League crowning a new champion is certain since back-to-back triumphant Hereda San Pablo Burgos was eliminated by Darussafaka in the Play-Ins. A history-making run complemented by the 2021 FIBA Intercontinental Cup but Dejan Kravic’s streak of capturing BCL championships was even longer, stretching back to the 2019 championship with Virtus Segadredo Bologna.

Kravic, 31, became the first three-time champion of FIBA’s top European club continental competition as San Pablo Burgos edged Pinar Karsiyaka in the 2021 Final Eight championship game last May. The Serbian-Canadian center joining the Spanish club before the 2020-21 season allowed him to capture the title in October as the coronavirus pandemic pushed back the conclusion of the 2019-20 season. With Virtus Bologna, the first of three consecutive first-place finishes surfaced in May 2019.

After parting ways with San Pablo Burgos, Kravic inked a deal with Unicaja last January retaining hopes for a fourth championship in a row. The team based in Malaga reached the Playoffs but was swept by ACB rival Baxi Manresa in the Quarterfinals’ best-of-three series Tuesday. The streak came to an end for the veteran of 53 Champions League games over the last five seasons.

Two-time champions

Apart from Kravic, San Pablo Burgos winning back-to-back championships generated several two-time champions. Vitor Benite, Alex Barrera, Miquel Salvo, Thad McFadden, Jasiel Rivero, Jordan Sakho, Omar Cook, Xavi Rabaseda, Ken Horton, Alex Renfroe, Kareem Queeley, and Alberto Alonso were part of both squads along with play-caller Joan Penarroya.

Among the remaining teams for the 2021-22 season, only one more player can potentially join the list. Aaron Doornekamp is the on-court link between Iberostar Tenerife becoming the inaugural champion and Lenovo Tenerife reaching the 2022 Final Four, despite being a part of Valencia from 2017 to 2020. Bilbao-born head coach Txus Vidorreta is the second link.

The 2022 Final Four will be held between 6 and 8 May in Bilbao, making it a special occasion for Vidorreta. Lenovo Tenerife has been matched up with Hapoel U-NET Holon in the Semifinals, while Baxi Manresa will face U-BT Cluj-Napoca or MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg depending on the outcome of the remaining Playoffs’ best-of-three series.

Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League