By George Georgakopoulos
Panathinaikos shook off the disappointment from yet another Euroleague loss at Laboral Kutxa to beat Ilisiakos 87-60 on Monday and remain alone atop the A1 league table.
Amid growing concerns about the pace of the team during games and the ability of coach Argyris Pedoulakis to get the most out of his players, the champion had summer signings Nikos Pappas and Vladimir Jankovic to thank for a combined 35 (16 and 19 respectively) out of its 87 points scored at Zografou, to get a morale boost ahead of Friday’s crucial home game for the Euroleague against Red Star Belgrade.
Imposing Olympiakos, that has already qualified from its Euroleague group, beat visiting Aris by 32 points (93-61) on Saturday to stay one point behind Panathinaikos, along with PAOK and Panionios.
PAOK had DJ Cooper score 19 points and distribute six assists in its 82-65 victory in Thessaloniki over KAO Dramas, while Panionios saw off Ikaros 80-73 at Halkida. The result brought about the sacking of Giorgos Kalafatakis from the Ikaros bench.
Kolossos had started the season with five straight losses, but its three consecutive wins – the latest one being its 62-59 defeat of Nea Kifissia – have taken the Rhodes club to the seventh spot.
AGO Rethymnou lies fifth after edging out Trikala 79-77 in Crete, one point ahead of Apollon Patras that fended off the challenge of Panelefsiniakos to win 70-69 in Patra.