A big showdown for the top spot in Group F takes place in Sopot, Poland, where Prokom Trefl welcomes Panathinaikos on Wednesday at 19:45 CET, in the first-ever matchup between both teams. Prokom (1-1) comes off its first-ever Top 16 win after seven consecutive losses at this stage since its first appearance in 2005. Meanwhile, Panathinaikos (2-0) is the only unbeaten team in this group and registered back-to-back massive home wins against Efes Pilsen and Winterthur FCB, but will play three of its remaining four games on the road. Prokom released Justin Hamilton earlier this week, so Rashid Atkins (7.3 ppg., 44.8% 3FG, 2.6 apg.) and Tomas Pacesas are set to share the point guard duties from now on. Atkins had a team-high 16 points to lead Prokom to a 67-71 overtime road win against Efes - including 4 clutch free throws in the final minute. He will have plenty of help in the backcourt with sharp shooters Donatas Slanina (10.3 ppg.), Christian Dalmau (11.3 ppg., 41% 3FG) or Jasmin Hukic (6.2 ppg., 3.3 rpg.). Panathinaikos count on a deep roster that does not seem to have limits. Dimitris Diamantidis (9.3 ppg., 45.2% 3FG, 4.1 apg., 2.7 spg.)will have the mission to slow Atkins while Tony Delk (10.3 ppg.), Ramunas Siskauskas (9.1 ppg., 46.5% 3FG), Sani Becirovic (9.7 ppg.) or Nikos Hatzivrettas (8.7 ppg., 41.2% 3FG) will test their scoring skills against a whole battery of Prokom shooters. One of Prokom's main concerns will be slowing Mike Batiste (14.4 ppg., 69.4% 2FG, 6.5 rpg.), the Euroleague November MVP this season, who returned from an injury and is ready to lead a deep Panathinaikos frontcourt that also counts with power forwards Kostas Tsartsaris (8.5 ppg., 62.7% 2FG) or Dimos Dikoudis (8.3 ppg., 67.7% 2FG), passing big man Dejan Tomasevic (7.6 ppg., 5 rpg.) or team captain Fragiskos Alvertis (2.7 ppg.). Tomasevic, Dikoudis and Robertas Javtokas(2.6 ppg.) will have the tough mission to go against big men Huseyin Besok (10.4 ppg., 4.6 rpg.) and Michael Andersen (6.8 ppg.), while Tomasevic and Dikoudis will test their defensive skills against do-it-all swingman Tomas Masiulis (4.4 ppg., 3.9 rpg.) and physical forward Filip Dylewicz (3.9 ppg., 3.2 rpg.). Even when Panathinaikos is the favourite in this game, Prokom plays in front of its fans and hopes to keep all its playoff dreams alive.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007