Panathinaikos defeated rivals Olympiacos last night, 101-94 in overtime, to close out the pro basketball season in Greece and take its ninth straight EΣAKE title and 12th in 13 seasons. The win also marked the incredible 11th Greek league championship for coach Zeljko Obradovic, whose incredible CV also includes eight Euroleague titles, six Greek Cups, two Saporta Cups, one Serbian championship, one Serbian cup, and two FIBA gold medals. (Best European coach ever…?)
Before a full capacity crowd of 25,000, Panathinaikos pulled off the win despite an injury to Dimitris Diamantidis in the first minute of the game. After slogging through the first quarter, which produced an 18-17 lead for Olympiacos, the Greens were buoyed by the performances of Mike Batiste (who ended up with 22 points, 11 rebounds), Antonis Fotsis (22 points), and Nick Calathes (16 points, 11 assists, five rebounds) to grab a 41-39 halftime lead.
The sides played nip and tuck throughout the second half, but a 9-0 run in the overtime period would prove too much for Olympiacos, and the Greek trophy will once again stay in the PAO clubhouse.
It’s the end of a frustrating season for the Reds, which took a 36-0 record against Greek teams into the championship series, only to lose three games to one. The Reds also took a 12-4 overall record into the Euroleague final eight round, only to drop three straight to underdogs Montepaschi Siena and suffer elimination from the big league by an identical 3-1 series score.
While Olympiacos will reportedly face league retribution for incidents involving fans in game three of the series, PAO will surely be receiving some penalty from EΣAKE officials for the chaos that ensued after this match as well. Fans stormed the court after the home team’s victory and Olympiacos coach Vangelis Angelou was punched in the eye by a, let’s say, overzealous Greens fan. Ioannis Bourousis was apparently a target for damage as well, but escaped from the court with Dimantidis.
More Reds players were reportedly in physical danger, but Panathinaikos backers were held at bay by Obradovic, Diamantidis, Kostas Kaimakoglou, and Giorgos Bogris.