Zeljko Obradovic Champ! -  Panathinaikos - Final Four Athens 2007The Greens defeated defending champion CSKA Moscow 93-91 in a thrilling final at Athens Olympic Indoor Hall (OAKA) in the Greek capital on Sunday to take their first title in five years. In front of a very green sold-out crowd, Panathinaikos captain Fragiskos Alvertis raised the new Euroleague Basketball trophy as the proud club celebrated its fourth Euroleague title – the most of any team in the Final Four era. Final Four MVP Dimitris Diamantidis scored 15 points and displayed the needed leadership to take his team to glory. Diamantidis was one of six Panathinaikos players to score in double figures. Ramunas Siskauskas, who tied a Euroleague final game record with 12 free throws made and set another with 17 attempted, shined with 20 points and 5 assists, Dejan Tomasevic added 16, Mike Batiste and Milos Vujanic had 12 each and Nikos Hatzivrettas posted 10. Despite a game widely expected to be a defensive struggle, the final resulted in a high-scoring thriller that went to the very end. Records were set by Panathinaikos for most free throws made (38) and attempted (46) in a final. The greens also matched a final record for most points scored in the second quarter with 28. The title gives coach Zeljko Obradovic his record sixth Euroleague title, while Alvertis joins six other players on the all-time list with four Euroleague crowns. Meanwhile, CSKA fell short in its bid to become the second straight team to win back-to-back titles. Newly crowned Euroleague MVP Theodoros Papaloukas did his best to carry the outgoing champs, scoring a career-high 23 points on 9-of-10 from the field to go with 8 assists, but it wasn't enough. Matjaz Smodis finished with 18 points and Trajan Langdon, who was instrumental in CSKA's late rally with 11 fourth-quarter points, wound up with 16. J.R. Holden added 11.
MVP final Four 2007 - Dimitris DiamantidisIn the history of European basketball, the 2007 Final Four at Athens Olympic Indoor Hall (OAKA) will be forever associated with victory by Panathinaikos and the role of Dimitris Diamantidis as MVP. On a night when all the world was watching and every shot was important - make or miss - Diamantidis had a near-perfect shooting performance as Panathinaikos dethroned previous champ CSKA 93-91. His 15 points were one reason for Diamantidis being voted MVP, but so was his singular specialty, the ball-hawking defense that has won him three consecutive Best Defender Trophy honors. Just as he has helped make defense into a feature that fans watch as intently as scoring, Diamantidis has opened up the MVP award to defensive players as perhaps no one before him. More than a week after winning the title, Diamantidis remains with his feet on the ground, a modest player ready to deflect all praise to his coach and his teammates. In this interview, Diamantidis spoke about everything from that magical weekend, but made it clear that MVP status is not nearly as important to him as being champion with his team. "I am a tool in a great basketball machine," Diamantidis told "I don't consider myself a star, I only think about being a dedicated player and a good professional."

Congratulations again, Dimitris. First of all, after a few days as a new one, how does it feel to be champion of Europe? Do you feel different?

"Yes, I have a special feeling, because this is the first time I won the Euroleague trophy and it means a lot for my team and myself. I am very proud to be champion of Europe with my club and my national team at the same time, and it feels great! There is another thing which makes me happy: We were crowned at home and we enjoyed celebrating with our fans. This success didn't change my life, however it is very important to be rewarded for your efforts and dedication towards the game."

What a weekend at the Final Four for you: All-Euroleague First Team, Final MVP and champion for the first time, on your 27th birthday. Was it like living a dream?

"It feels like a dream, nevertheless it just happened. All the events occurred simultaneously, I guess by coincidence! The only thing I had in mind was to go all the way and win the trophy, not to have any individual distinctions. All the members of our team were focused on the trophy and everything else came second, as an extra bonus. The team's success is bigger than any individual achievement. To be honest, when I sleep, I never dream, therefore even though my achievements may seem like a dream, it's a dream I prefer to live."