Obradovic seeks second Turkish league title with Fener
AFP photoLegendary coach Zeljko Obradovic, who guided Fenerbahçe to the Euroleague final this season only to bow to Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow in extra time, has now set his sights on capturing his second Turkish league title with his side set to face city rival Anadolu Efes in a best-of-seven series starting June 3.
The Turkish basketball league has witnessed a rare coaching tour de force in the past two seasons with Obradovic and his Serbian compatriot and long-time rival, Dusan Ivkovic, going from strength to strength, although the latter left his post following a defeat against Fener earlier in the year.
Now, Ahmet Çakı, who had a brilliant career on small-budget Turkish basketball teams and assisted Bogdan Tanjevic with the Turkish national team, will challenge Obradovic, with many Efes fans curious about how the 41-year-old manager will match up against his more illustrious opposite number.
Çakı won his all eight games after taking over the post, carrying Efes to the final.
Obradovic faced a defeat against Galatasaray Odeabank in the semis before Fener ended the series 3-1. The whole series was played under extreme tension which peaked during the third game when fans threw debris onto the court at the end of the third quarter, delaying the start of the fourth quarter. An unidentified stain was photographed on the face of Obradovic, with Fenerbahçe later stating on its website that it was spit from a Galatasaray fan.
Obradovic and Galatasaray coach Ergin Ataman had a brief argument at the end of the last game as well.
Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahçe have become the usual suspects in the final of the Turkish league, with the rivals matching up four times in the past 10 years, including the upcoming clash.
Fenerbahçe dominated the finals in the last decade beating Efes three times and bowing to it only in the 2008-2009 season.
There has been only one final series that did not feature Efes or Fener in the last 10 years.
Still, Anadolu Efes is still the team with the best domestic record with 13 league titles, more than doubling the six won by Fenerbahçe.
The series begins with two games at Efes’ home, Abdi İpekçi, before it moves to Ülker Arena on the Asian side of the city. The first game begins at 8 p.m., while Game 2 is on June 5.