SPORTS

Olympiakos triumphs in Greek Cup final

Olympiakos won the domestic season’s first title, defeating archrival Panathinaikos 74-68 in the Greek Cup final on May 15 despite having significant absentees.

The Reds took advantage of the timing of the final, just one week after the Final-Four of the Euroleague and Panathinaikos’s sixth European triumph, and dominated the game to retain their crown from last season.

With no more than just 200 of its fans at the stands from a total of just 2,000 who saw the final (Panathinaikos hardcore fans abstained in protest at the ticket price of 75 euros), the European champion was a shadow of its usual self — Dimitris Diamantidis and Mike Batiste were not enough for Panathinaikos to beat its rival on the night.

Three of Olympiakos?s best players — Vassilis Spanoulis, Rasho Nesterovic and Panayiotis Vassilopoulos — played no part in the final due to injury, but coach Dusan Ivkovic managed to beat his friend and opposite number, Zeljko Obradovic, for the third time this season, after two wins in the league.

The Reds had more energy and led by up to nine points in the first half (15-6) thanks to a fantastic two-point shooting rate.

Panathinaikos fought back, though, to turn a 33-25 deficit to a 37-35 lead, ending the first half on top (39-37).

After a Diamantidis three-pointer (42-37), Olympiakos answered with 10 consecutive points (47-42) to end the third period with a 58-53 advantage.

Again Panathinaikos fought back to lead 62-59, but its numerous offensive rebounds could not offset its poor shooting. Olympiakos scored precious points through Milos Teodosic to lead 72-65, taking the game beyond its rival.

Teodosic ended the game as top scorer with 18 as well as seven assists, Loukas Mavrokefalidis scored another 16 for Olympiakos and collected seven rebounds, but it was Yiannis Bourousis who was voted Most Valuable Player of the final registering 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

On the other side Diamantidis and Batiste had 17 points each, with the American taking 10 rebounds, while one the league’s best shooters, Drew Nicholas made none of his seven attempts on the night.