Mon, 26 Jun 95 09:05:45 -0800

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Vlade Divac has his Yugoslavia team on track to meet
a Croatia team led by Toni Kukoc and Dino Radja in the final of the
European Basketball Championship.
Provided they get past the quarterfinals and the semifinals, they will
meet in the championship on July 2.
"It's likely that we meet but let's talk about it when it happens,"
Yugoslav coach Dusan Ivkovic said.
Both teams are 3-0 in their groups and have already beaten their
toughest group rivals. Yugoslavia defeated Lithuania 70-61, while Croatia
beat Russia 100-94 in overtime.
On Monday, Yugoslavia plays Sweden and Croatia plays Turkey.
Divac, of the Los Angeles Lakers, has been instrumental for Yugoslavia
with help from Predrag Danilovic, who has signed with the Miami Heat.
For Croatia, Kukoc of the Chicago Bulls and Radja of the Boston Celtics
have been overshadowed by guard Arijan Komazec, who could end up with the
Phoenix Suns.
Before its overtime victory, Croatia had lost to Russia twice in a row
at major events.
"It was important for us psychologically to win that game," said
Croatia's coach Aleksandar Petrovic, older brother of the late New Jersey
Nets star Drazen Petrovic, who was killed in a car crash in Germany before
the 1993 Europeans.
Lithuania, the Olympic bronze medalist, has center Arvidas Sabonis and
Seattle SuperSonics guard Sarunas Marciulionis. But it seems to have too
thin a bench to win the strongest European tournament ever.
Still, Lithuania and Russia look as the teams most likely to join
Croatia and Yugoslavia in the semifinals, which will guarantee all four
teams berths in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
If current form holds, Yugoslavia will be matched against Russia in the
semis, with Croatia playing Lithuania.
Divac, Radja, Kukoc, Danilovic and Komazec were teammates on the
Yugoslav team that won the 1990 world title and the 1991 European
championship, the last major event before the country and its team broke
Yugoslavia now consists only of Serbia and Montenegro.
// Dejan Ristic
// Washington, DC
// Using OS/2 Warp !