There is no time like the present for Mornar Bar, which is getting ready to make its 7DAYS EuroCup debut as it comes off a historic season that saw the team win its first Montenegrin League title. The 2017-18 campaign saw Mornar achieve its best-ever results in all competitions it entered. In only its second Adriatic League campaign, Mornar withstood all challenges to finish fourth in the regular season and reach the playoffs for the first time. In a dramatic best-of-three semifinal series, Mornar was ousted by mighty Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, but not before it snatched a memorable 88-84 Game 2 win at home. Mornar reached the FIBA Europe Cup quarterfinals and got to the Montenegrin Cup finals, which it lost in an 87-83 thriller against Buducnost VOLI Podgorica. However, Mornar finished the season by beating the same opponent in the best-of-five Montenegrin League playoff finals. Mornar first dismissed Sutjeska in the semifinals with victories by 24 and 22 points before stealing Game 1 of the finals 77-84 on road in Podgorica. Mornar defended its home floor in Game 2 by beating Buducnost 93-85, and after nearly coming away with a sweep on the road in the third game, Mornar finished the job in Game 4 with a 75-63 win that clinched the first major title in club history.
Bar is a coastal city in southern Montenegro and its premier basketball team was founded in 1974 under the name Mladost. It was originally made of a few dozen students from the local high school under the guidance of their teacher, Branka Korac. The team later changed its name to Mornar – which translates as Sailor –- and played in the Yugoslav second division throughout the 1980s. Three times was Mornar on the brink of promotion to the Yugoslav basketball elite, and twice – in the 1986-87 and 1992-93 seasons – reached the Yugoslav Cup semifinals. Mornar finally qualified for the Yugoslav first division in 1993 with Mihailo Pavicevic on the bench, and his brother Djordjie, as well as brothers Ranko and Rajko Carapic, Dragoje Spicanovic, Djuro Ostojic and Vinko Bardic, among others, on the floor. After a few promising seasons, Mornar was relegated when it finished last in the 1997-98 season. Mornar remained alive only thanks to a fusion with a city rival KK Primorka and did not return to prominence until Djordjije Pavicevic returned to his hometown club in 2003 as head coach. It took only a year for Mornar to reach the first division of the Serbia & Montenegro League. When Montenegro declared its independence in 2006, Mornar started participating in the Montenegrin League. Its first big success was in 2009-10 when Djordjie Pavicevic guided the team to the Montenegro Cup finals, where Buducnost won 97-79, and later that spring to the Montenegrin League playoff semifinals. The following season the club reached the league finals for the first time. It lost 3-0 against Buducnost, but that was just the start of Mornar's steady climb to the top of Montenegrin basketball. It made the playoff semifinals three of the next four years, before taking it another step further in 2016 when it started its current run of three consecutive Montenegrin League playoff finals and three straight Montenegrin Cup finals. In 2017, Djordjie Pavicevic, who has taken a larger-than-coach role with the club, persuaded his brother Mihailo to join the coaching staff as Mornar was preparing for new challenges. Mornar made its Adriatic League debut in the 2016-17 season as well as its European club competitions debut by taking part in the Basketball Champions League. Mornar did not get past the group stage in the Champions League and finished eighth in the Adriatic League, but continued to get closer at home and took Buducnost the distance in the best-of-five playoff finals before losing the decider 76-73 in Podgorica. Last summer, the two brothers switched coaching positions, as Mihailo took over for Djordjie, and it turned out to be a special season. Mornar reached the Adriatic League semifinals, and after a third consecutive Montenegrin Cup finals defeat at the hands of Buducnost, it rose to the challenge and lifted its first-ever Montenegrin League title by defeating the same opponent in four games. Now, with its EuroCup debut around the corner, Mornar's aspirations are as big as ever.
|Montenegrin National League: 2017-18