Greens lose at Barca, but are within one win from play-offs

By George Georgakopoulos

Panathinaikos succumbed to unbeaten Barcelona in Spain on Friday, going down 84-62, but Armani Milano’s win in Turkey over Fenerbahce has boosted the Greens’ chances for a top-four finish in the group. They should go through to the quarterfinals with victory over Unicaja Malaga in Athens next week.

For 15 minutes Panathinaikos challenged Barcelona at the Palau Blaugrana, but the Catalans scored 28 points in the second period to lead 42-32 at half-time and never look back since.

In the second half it appeared at times that Panathinaikos had given up trying, in what was the first loss for the Greek champion under new coach Fragiskos Alvertis. As the game went on it became clear that Panathinaikos was reduced to a punchbag for Barcelona.

Roko Ukic was the best player for the Greens on the night with 13 points, while captain Dimitris Diamantidis notched up 11.

Although Panathinaikos has given up hope for a top-two finish that would have granted it home advantage in the play-offs, it remained in third after its loss in Spain, with six wins in 12 games, level on points with Olympiakos.