19 September, 2017
02 May, 2018
1 Derrick Colter, 11 Dardan Berisha | Photo: Fatlind Obertinca
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Excellent start has Berisha, Sigal Prishtina eyeing new milestones in Europe

PRISHTINA (FIBA Europe Cup) - There weren't many people who had Sigal Prishtina as the pace-setters in Group G before the start of the FIBA Europe Cup season, but they are delightedly turning doubters into believers with a strong start to their campaign.

After getting off the mark with two wins, the Kosovar champions find themselves leading the pack two games into the Regular Season and enjoying a favorable tailwind with momentum on their side.

It took a last-second game-winner by Lis Shoshi for Prishtina to come away with a win in Belgium in their season-opener. There was nowhere near as much drama on their home floor at the Palace of Youth and Sports, as they inscribed a 76-65 win over Khimik.

"It was a difficult game, because they have a good and experienced team, but we played well on defense and thanks to that we won tonight," the team's top scorer Dardan Berisha said, after leaving the court with a game-high 22 points.

"I believe that we deserved it."

"Both against Belfius Mons-Hainaut and also tonight [against Khimik], we won thanks to our defensive game."Sigal Prishtina head coach Ahmet KandemirSigal Prishtina head coach Ahmet Kandemir

Prishtina's staunch defensive performance has been the backbone to their early success in the FIBA Europe Cup, with coach Ahmet Kandemir's side allowing just 68.5 points per game in their first two contests.

"Both against Belfius Mons-Hainaut and also tonight, we won thanks to our defensive game," the 47-year-old specialist from Turkey said, highlighting the role of Great Britain international Andrew Lawrence on the team.

Andrew Lawrence is a key figure on the team

"We had some bad moments, because it is very difficult to play with just a single playmaker. We are the only team in the group with just one true point guard, but we have managed to play our game and win."

Lawrence finished the game with 18 points and 8 assists, but the Kosovar hosts were outscored heavily in the five minutes he was not on the court for Prishtina.

"This is not over yet, we have four more games ahead, but with the help of our fans we can qualify for the next round."Sigal Prishtina guard Dardan BerishaSigal Prishtina guard Dardan Berisha

Even with a the minor headache in the point guard position pecking away, both coach Kandemir and his players are not simply content with their red-hot start and already have loftier goals in mind.

"It would be very important for Prishtina and also for Kosovan basketball in general to proceed to the next round," the experienced playcaller offered, looking forward. "And if we win all three remaining home games, we will qualify."

They will have a chance to move to 3-0 in the Group G standings on Friday, when they face off against Khimik once again in the second half of a double-header, which occurred when the fixture from Gameday 5 was rescheduled for logistical reasons.

"This is not over yet, we have four more games ahead, but with the help of our fans, we can qualify for the next round. We are motivated and we will play for the win on Friday again," the team's leader Berisha promised to supporters of the club.

"Small step for a man, big step for a Nation" NA @fibawc 🇽🇰💪🏼

A post shared by DB11 (@dardanberisha11) on

Having made history with the Kosovo national team in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup European Pre-Qualifiers, the 28-year-old shooting guard is now close to a new milestone for the country at club level as well.

Having taken part in both previous editions of the FIBA Europe Cup, never have Prishtina made it to the Second Round. Could this season be the turn of the tide?