On-fire Ukic leads PAO to Kaunas triumph

By George Georgakopoulos

A breathtaking Panathinaikos grabbed an ever-so-precious away win over Zalgiris Kaunas with a 78-73 score for the second round of the Euroleague on Thursday, led once again by Roko Ukic.

The Croat guard, who had also been voted the most valuable player of the Greek Cup final on February 10, took it upon himself to guide the Athens giant to a win that has boosted its chances of advancing to the quarterfinals of the competition after scoring its fifth victory in eight games and the second on the road.

The game in Lithuania was very tight from start to finish and each time Zalgiris tried to break away in the score the Greeks bounced back, as was the case with the hosts’ 43-37 and 61-56 leads.

With a prolific attack on the night, Panathinaikos silenced the home crowd turning a 69-68 deficit to a 75-69 advantage toward the end.

Ukic scored 21 points and had six assists on the night, showing a completely different face to the start of the season, which should also be credited to coach Argyris Pedoulakis.

Dimitris Diamantidis (13 points, 10 assists) and James Gist (12 points, nine rebounds) also had a great game for Panathinaikos.