Our fans will be there for us!

Apr 03, 2012 by stratos perperoglou - athens, greece Print
Stratos Perperoglou - PanathinaikosHi, everyone! We are only one step away from the Final Four, but it’s a big step. Fortunately, we play our deciding Game 5 at home, but we have to face a strong team that has already beaten us in OAKA this very year, in this very playoffs series. Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv has proven that it is a strong opponent. This series has been like a roller coaster for both teams with respect to both the results and the games themselves. Since we lost Game 2 at home, we knew that we needed to get at least one victory in Tel Aviv. We came into Game 3 far from focused; especially in the first half. Maccabi got the lead, stretched it to double digits and we were forced to chase them until the end of the game.

Even after that loss, we had faith in our team. We knew that we could get that one victory we needed. We watched the video of Game 3 all together; we all saw the slow start we had. We agreed that when you play in an arena like Nokia Arena, you have to taken the court fully focused in order to begin well and to control the tempo of the game. Coach Obradovic talked to us, we talked to each other and we all agreed that it’s up to us. We are a better team, as long as we are 100% focused on the game, on every play, from the first to the last second. The noise is a huge factor there during the game and we had to find a way to talk to each other, to communicate, to listen to our coaches’ directions, to avoid the turnovers we committed in Game 3 without any pressure from the opponents.

We did all these things in Game 4, starting from the opening tip. We are more experienced as a team, we were ready for this kind of situation and we managed to react the way we wanted. The series is now even (2-2) and we play Game 5 at home on Thursday. Our experience also tells us that nothing is over yet. We still don’t have the three wins we need. The fact that we brought the series back home to OAKA is a positive for us, but we cannot forget that Maccabi has already beaten us here. We have to be 100% ready, in order to get to the Final Four.

There is one thing that we know for a fact… OAKA will be packed! Our fans bought up all the tickets for the game basically in just a few hours and on Sunday there was already a sell-out. That show just how thirsty they are for more titles, even though they have celebrated many alongside this team. It also proves once more that our fans always stand with this team no matter what; in good times and bad. They have already done so in the past and they are doing it again now. We face a good team with great tradition and history and we need to transform the force of our fans into motivation on the court! So, Thursday at OAKA… We’ll talk again…

Until then, keep well…