Zadar has been the dominant force in mutual trials against Split, winning both in Gripe and Višnjik. However, when it came to the trophy matches, Split always reached the final victory and the trophy.
To overcome their lack of a competitive edge, Split made significant changes to both their coaching staff and playing roster. Meanwhile, Zadar kept coach Danijelo Jusup and most of their playing staff from last season.
In the first Dalmatian derby played as part of the Premier League in Višnjik, Zadar won 88-80. However, they struggled with team arrangement issues, particularly in the selection of foreigners. In response, they quickly dismissed Stevenson & Shelton and brought back last year’s game holders Shorter and Sullivan.
Despite these changes, Zadar is still too strong for many teams including Split. The Yellows have Luka Božić on their team, a player who plays far above the level of Zadar and the ABA league. With such a talented roster under coach Jusup’s guidance, it is difficult for opponents to keep up with them early in the season when they are still being assembled at Gripe.
Split’s players are too small compared to Zadar’s players under the baskets but should have taken advantage of their size difference by using it next to visiting players like Božić et al instead of relying on outside shots. Their plan to use all top five players fell through but Tišma was able to control Božić well while Ljubičić attacked Žganec and dominated under the baskets which helped them stay competitive during the match.