50 YEARS MEMORIES: JUGOPLASTIKA'S 89, 90, 91 TITLES
Jugoplastika with one of its three trophies
Historic three-peat in a place called Split
One of the greatest dynasties in European club competition history came between 1989 and 1991, when Split simply dominated the Euroleague like no team in decades. Head coach Bozidar Maljkovic put together arguably one of the most talented young teams ever seen anywhere: featuring Toni Kukoc, Dino Radja, Zan Tabak, Velimir Perasovic, Zoran Sretenovic and Luka Pavicevic, who joined forces with veterans like Dusko Ivanovic and Zoran Savic. In 1989, Jugoplastika reached the Final Four along with heavy favorites Barcelona and Maccabi Elite. Kukoc had 24 points and Ivanovic 21 to lead Split past Barcelona 89-77 in the semifinal. Once in the final, Jugoplastika edged Maccabi 75-69 behind 20 points from Radja and 18 from an unstoppable Kukoc, whose combination of size, speed and incredible court vision turned him into a one-of-a-kind player. Barcelona and Jugoplastika met again in the 1990 Euroleague final in Zaragoza, Spain. Barcelona was backed by thousands of fans and managed to get a brief 61-59 lead late in the second half, but Kukoc buried a couple of critical three-pointers that sent Jugoplastika on its way to its second straight title. Kukoc finished the game with 20 points. The team, then known as Pop 84 Split, returned to the competition without Sobin, Radja, Ivanovic and coach Maljkovic, but still managed to return to the final behind Kukoc and Zoran Savic in 1991. Pop 84, coached by Zeljko Pavlicevic, once again edged Barcelona 70-65 behind 27 points from Savic and 11 from Avy Lester. As such, Split became the only team since ASK Riga in the very first years of European club competition to win three continental titles consecutively. Today, Split's legacy lives on, as every fan in Europe associates the word Jugoplastika with top quality basketball.
JUGOPLASTIKA CHAMPS

INTERVIEW: ZORAN SRETENOVIC
Zoran Sretenovic

Just two teams in European club basketball history ever won three consecutive titles, and only one did so during the Final Four era. On that mythical team from Split, Croatia - known as Jugoplastika in 989 and 1990, and as Pop 84 in 1991 - one player started all three title games: Zoran Sretenovic. And in the 1991 final, Sretenovic became the only European ever to play all 40 minutes of a Final Four-era title game for the winning team.

"Looking back and seeing that no once since us has accomplished a 'three-peat', I believe you can say that Jugoplastika at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s was one of the best teams in the history of European club basketball. Besides the results we achieved, my theory also takes into account the personal careers a majority of those players made after leading Split."

"The first, 1989 in Munich, I appreciate most. We went there as young unknowns, with only our talent and great ambition. Second, 1990 in Zaragoza, was no longer a surprise...but it was saying something that we beat Barcelona on what was almost its homecourt, in Zaragoza... The third title, I'd say, was the triumph of the eternal substitutes. In 1991 in Paris, only Kukoc remained of the great stars."