Greens and Reds struggle to beat minor opposition in league

By George Georgakopoulos

Euroleague hopefuls Panathinaikos and Olympiakos had a hard time being their local league opponents on Monday in games that highlighted the improvement of the Greek game.

While Olympiakos predictably had a harder time beating Aris 64-59 at Thessaloniki, given the strength of Aris at home and the absences of Olympiakos’s Vassilis Spanoulis and Giorgos Printezis, the fact that bottom club Ilisiakos gave leader Panathinaikos a scare at the Olympic Sports Hall shows that nothing is to be taken for granted. Eventually the Greens won 83-77, in the league debut of Fragiskos Alvertis on the Panathinaikos bench.

KAO Dramas, who has already upset Olympiakos and Panionios at home, managed to defeat PAOK too, in a thrilling game that was decided in overtime. KAOD won 90-85, but remains sixth behind the season’s surprise package, Nea Kifissia who downed Kolossos Rhodes 80-74.

Third-placed Panionios had no problems at home against struggling Ikaros Halkidas winning 89-54.

Apollon Patras came from behind to beat Panelefsiniakos 73-66 away, and Trikala took a stride toward safety with its 75-63 home defeat of AGO Rethymnou.

In women’s basketball, Elliniko won its first ever major trophy by beating Panathinaikos 57-55 in the Greek Cup final on Sunday.