Ilisiakos and Ikaros Halkidas were the two teams to get relegated from the A1 basketball division upon the completion of the regular season on Saturday that was particularly dramatic. The play-offs are starting on Tuesday.
The teams from Zografou and Halkida are going down as they ended up in a three-way tie with Panelefsiniakos, but the Elefsina club had the best head-to-head record with them and stayed up.
In what attributes credit to the league, all three teams that were desperate to win so as to stay up were beaten by teams that had no particular interest in winning.
While Ikaros was comprehensively defeated at PAOK (88-74), Panelefsiniakos saw relegation stare at its face as it was trailing Nea Kifissia at home while Ilisiakos was leading AGO Rethymnou on Crete.
Yet with the score at 62-61 in its favor and 18 seconds left on the clock, Ilisiakos lost possession, and five seconds from the end Yiannis Kalambokis scored the winning basket for Rethymno that sank Ilisiakos (63-62) and kept Panelefsiniakos in the top flight despite its loss (71-63) to Nea Kifissia.
There were some other spectacular games, too, with KAO Dramas beating Trikala 108-103 away, and Kolossos downing Aris 72-69 on Rhodes through a Nondas Papantoniou buzzer beater from eight meters away.
Panathinaikos trailed to host Apollon Patras at half-time with a 45-44 score, but eventually completed 25 games in a row without a loss with a 95-79 win and a three-point margin at the top from second-placed Olympiakos. The Reds saw off Panionios 76-66 at home.
On Tuesday the play-offs start with the best-of-three first round pitting Panathinaikos with Apollon, Olympiakos with Aris, Panionios with KAO Dramas and PAOK with Nea Kifissia.
Going up from the A2 division are AEK and Korivos Amaliadas