SPORTS

Tricky draw for Panathinaikos, Olympiakos

The draw for the Euroleague’s second group stage, held on December 28, looks tricky for both Panathinaikos and Olympiakos but offers adequate hopes for both Greek sides to reach the quarterfinal playoffs.

European champion Panathinaikos will be in the same group as Fenerbahce Ulker from Turkey, Russia?s UNICS Kazan and Armani Milano from Italy. The group seems fairly easy for Panathinaikos as long as the Greens play up to standard.

However, if Panathinaikos qualifies, it will face the tough prospect of Barcelona or Maccabi Tel Aviv in the all-important playoffs that will determine the spots in the Final Four.

The first match for Panathinaikos is at Armani Milano, whose players include former Panathinaikos stars Drew Nicholas and Antonis Fotsis, as well as Yiannis Bourousis.

Olympiakos finds itself in a more difficult group, as it will come up against Euroleague favorite CSKA Moscow and Turkish teams Anadolu Efes and Galatasaray, both hailing from Istanbul, the city that will host this season’s Final Four.

In its opening game in the group, Olympiakos will host CSKA on January 18 or 19.

Should the Reds successfully negotiate their top-16 group, they will have to overcome one of the teams to emerge from the group consisting of Real Madrid, Montepaschi Siena, Unicaja Malaga and Bilbao Basket.