Panathinaikos completed its perfect start in all three competitions this season with victory in its Euroleague premiere against Polish champions Turow on Friday, winning with an 84-77 score.
The Greens could not afford to lose this game against the tournament’s Cinderella in an otherwise super-tight pool, and fended off a late comeback by the visitors to grab this precious win at the Olympic Sports Hall of Athens.
In a game that featured a very quiet Dimitris Diamantidis (two points) and the debut of Julian Wright (four points), Panathinaikos had five players scoring double figures, led by AJ Slaughter and Nikos Pappas (16 points each).
Against a Euroleague debutant Panathinaikos seemed more focused on its offensive game and led 42-35 at half-time, with Vladimir Giankovits producing some exciting highlights.
The Greens stretched their advantage to 14 points in the third period (54-40) but Turow started eating into their deficit. Former Olympiakos player Mardy Collins (23 points) almost single-handedly placed the game on a knife edge as the visitors came to within two points of Panathinaikos (73-71) before the Greens’ experience and quality made the difference.
The game showed that Panathinaikos coach Dusko Ivanovic still has plenty of work to do to ensure he can produce a decent defense, but the encouraging signs are coming from new generation of Greek players of the team that is coming of age just as the club really needed it to.