PAO, Olympiakos, Panionios and PAOK reach A1 semis
By George Georgakopoulos
All four favorites swept their opponents in the first round of the Basket League play-offs with away wins on Thursday to clinch their spots in the semifinals that begin next week.
Champion Panathinaikos defeated Apollon 82-67 at Patra, with captain Dimitris Diamantidis showing signs if his glorious past scoring 16 points in 19 minutes.
Challenger Olympiakos saw off Aris with a 74-58 score at the Nick Galis Hall in Thessaloniki and will face Panionios in the best-of-five semifinals.
Panionios came from behind at Drama to beat local KAOD 81-71 and win the series 2-0. KAODís sixth spot was the best in the clubís history.
In the other quarterfinal PAOK beat Nea Kifissia away with a 79-75 score in Soulis Markopoulosís 600th professional game in his coaching career, an amazing record. The match was marred by the outbreak of one of the hostís players against the referees.
In the semifinals PAOK will face Panathinaikos, with the first couple of games taking place in Athens.