The basketball gods have a strange way of working sometimes and Nikola Topic experienced that firsthand during his Most Valuable Player award-winning performance for U18 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade at the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Belgrade.
Topic made his first 32 free throws of the ANGT Belgrade - including a record-setting 20-of-20 to get Zvezda into the first-place game against fierce local rival U18 Mega MIS Belgrade. Free throw number 32 tied the game 72-72 with 1.8 seconds left in regulation. Another would give Zvezda its first ANGT Belgrade title since 2017-18. The basketball gods had other plans though and Topic missed for the first - and only - time in the tournament and Zvezda ended up losing 79-80 in overtime.
Even though his team failed to take first place, Topic was named MVP after he averaged 26.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 2.0 steals and 6.2 fouls drawn for a PIR average of 33.5.
"I would be happier if we won it all. It’s always nice to get an individual trophy like this, but it really doesn’t matter that much because we didn’t win it all," Topic said.
About his performance, the guard said: "I think I did good. I think there were some minutes I could have done better but at the end of the day we are humans. I played with an injury and I think I did good. We just came up a little bit short."
After the game ended, Topic left the court and fled to the locker room and had to be brought back by a team official for the award ceremony.