SPORTS

Turkish nightmares for Panathinaikos and Olympiakos

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Basketball

Istanbul has proven a black hole for Greece’s representatives in the Euroleague, with Panathinaikos eliminated from the competition on Tuesday and seeing fresh problems threatening its domestic season too, while Olympiakos suffered another loss on Wednesday and is also on the verge of elimination.

Fenerbahce swept Panathinaikos with a 3-0 score in the best-of-five play-offs after its 79-61 triumph in Game 3 in Turkey.

Panathinaikos posed some resistance in the first half (37-30 in the hosts’ favor)but its attack was virtually non-existent in the second, wasting all the effort made in defense particularly over the third quarter of the game.

KC Rivers was the top scorer with 16 points along with three steals and three assists for the Greens on Tuesday.

As if that had not been enough, Panathinaikos owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos was so angry with the result and the performance of his team in Turkey that he canceled the flight tickets home on Wednesday and ordered the squad to return home by coach.

Four of the team’s players reportedly refused to undergo that ordeal and were left out, returning to Athens by themselves (and by air). They were Chris Singleton, Kenny Gabriel, Mike James and club legend Antonis Fotsis.

Coach Xavi Pascual consented to the penalty imposed on the entire squad and boarded the coach home, but reports say he is now seriously contemplating resignation.

Also in Istanbul Olympiakos suffered a 64-60 reverse to host Anadolu on Wednesday and trails the Turks 2-1. Game 4 will take place on Friday, also in Turkey.

Efes was the better team for most of the game leading by up to 15 points (45-30), but a late rally by Olympiakos, led by Vassilis Spanoulis who had had a very poor game up to the 35th minute, placed the Reds within one point from the Turks (61-60) before succumbing to a cheap loss.

Spanoulis scored 15 points, while his team only got 17 points from all its non-Greek players on the night.

However if Olympiakos shows the same comeback spirit on Friday, it can easily upset Efes and return to Piraeus for the decider next week.

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