Wednesday night was a special one for Segafredo Virtus Bologna; the club won its first home game in the 7DAYS EuroCup since January 20, 2004, and its fans had plenty of reasons to celebrate. Virtus cruised to a 96-77 win against Maccabi Rishon LeZion in a game with many highlights even for neutral fans. Virtus had five players score in double digits and one of them was Milos Teodosic in his return to the EuroCup for the first time since 2008. Since then, Teodosic went on to become the EuroLeague MVP in 2010, won the EuroLeague in 2016 and became one of the best and most creative players in European basketball.
Despite Teodosic's showing, it was another Serbian playmaker who provided the milestone: Stefan Markovic became the first player to dish 500 assists in EuroCup history. Markovic entered the game with 499 assists and didn't need much time to set the milestone - he found Frank Gaines for a three-point shot with 6:30 left in the first quarter. He finished the game with 4 assists to total 503 in his EuroCup career. Most importantly, Markovic scored 11 of his 13 points late in the third quarter, leading a 21-6 run that allowed Virtus to overcome a tough situation and seal the outcome long before the final buzzer.
Going forward, Markovic will continue to add assists to a record he will probably own for many seasons. The next EuroCup active player on the all-time assists charts is Per Guenther of ratiopharm Ulm, who ranks 20th with 246 assists. The fact that Markovic played 107 EuroCup games helped him be first - he is eighth on the all-time appearances list, but make no mistake about how much he deserves his place atop the table. Only five players with at least 50 EuroCup games have a better assist average (4.66 apg.) than Markovic.
Virtus is Markovic's sixth EuroCup team in his career. He played the 2009 semifinals with Hemofarm Vrsac, the 2011 semifinals with Benetton Treviso and the 2012 championship game with Valencia Basket, but has never managed to lift the trophy. So far, Virtus is on the right track, winning both games by an average margin of 12 points. With so much scoring talent around him, Markovic is sure to keep sharing the ball and stay comfortably ahead of everyone else on the all-time assists charts.