Typically, BallinEurope would lead such an entry with “Congratulations go out to…” For reasons that will soon become apparent, however, BiE the morning will simply acknowledge the awarding of the Serbian Superleague championship title to Partizan Belgrade. For just when you thought the ending to the Greek League championship was shocking and disappointing, the Serbian Super League season has ended with a forfeit due to an understatedly ugly incident in game two between perpetual Serbian champions Partizan and Hemofarm Stada.
In a hard-fought game, the score was 78-77 with little time left to play in the fourth quarter when Lawrence Roberts brought the ball up for Partizan, then hoisted a three-pointer. Underneath the rim, as reported by English-language outlet The National Turk, “a battle ensued to get the ball under the board in case of a rebound but at that moment both [Partizan’s Aleks] Maric and [Hemofarm’s Rasko] Katic fell to the ground after losing their balance but Maric was seen throwing a punch.
“Maric then got up and was seen confronting Katic about the incident though it was he who seemed to have started the whole thing.”
The immediate result was this:
In what must be some kind of playoff record, 18 players were ejected in the melee and the game ended as a three-on-three match.
In the post-game, Hemofarm head coach Zeljko Lukajic dropped a few prescient comments: “…what has happened is shameful! They will fill these unpleasant images on YouTube. Now there will be speculation as to who is to blame, who first started it, but really we are all wrong!”
Game three, scheduled for last night at Pionir Arena, was never played, with Hemofarm players simply not showing up; league president Dragana Kapičića thus simply handed trophy and title to the Black-and-White 15 minutes after the scheduled tipoff time.
The record will show that Partizan took its ninth consecutive national title and 17th overall, but surely few have been “won” so egregiously.