Turkish Airlines Euroleague
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Panathinaikos is headed to Berlin
Panathinaikos will have a shot to play for its fourth Euroleague crown in a decade after clinching a spot at the Euroleague Final Four. Panathinaikos booked a berth in Berlin by beating Montepaschi Siena 84-91 on Thursday in Italy to win their best-of-five Quarterfinal Series 3-1. The 2009 Final Four will take place at the o2 Arena in the German capital from May 1-3. The Greek champs face arch Greek-League rival Olympiacos in the semifinals. The Greens will seek their fifth Euroleague title and fourth under head coach Zeljko Obradovic. Panathinaikos’s last win came two years ago when the Final Four took place at their home court in Athens. The club previously won in 1996, 2000 and 2002. With five crowns, Panathinaikos would match Varese for the third most in competition history. Real Madrid tops that list with eight titles and CSKA Moscow is next with six.
The road to the Final Four was not an easy one for Panathinaikos. The team faced its share of struggles, including a 24-point loss at Regal FC Barcelona in Week 2 and an 11-point loss to the same club in December that ended the Greens’ 18-game home-court winning streak. Panathinaikos placed only third in its regular season group, but came out for the Top 16 as strong as ever, reeling off four straight wins en route to clinching the top spot in Group G and home-court advantage in the playoffs. That advantage was not used as planned, since the Greens lost Game 2 at
OAKA, but Panathinaikos rebounded by winning twice in Siena to get back to the Final Four.
Panathinaikos heads to Berlin with six players on the roster that won the 2007 title and eight previous Euroleague champs overall, not to mention five players who have won the EuroBasket title with the Greek national team. Obradovic has won more Euroleague crowns than any other coach – 6. Team captain Fragiskos Alvertis is the winningest active player, having taken part in all four of Panathinaikos’s Euroleague titles. A fifth would place him second to only the great Dino Meneghin on the all-time list. Guard Sarunas Jasikevicius aims to win his fourth crown, which would tie him with six other legends for the fourth most ever and make him the first player to win the Euroleague with three different teams.
Friday, April 03, 2009
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