SPORTS

Olympiakos showing signs of revival after worst-ever start in domestic, Euro leagues

Had the season for Olympiakos begun just days ago, the basketball club would have thrown a party following its impressive 89-83 victory over Cibona of Zagreb in the ninth round of the Euro League. If only the struggling Greek club, a former European Champion and domestic powerhouse currently lying low both at home and in Europe, could turn back the clock to begin the season with its new transfers included in the roster, far more fans would have shown up in the stands at its Peace and Friendship home stadium to enjoy the skill and determination of the team’s revamped lineup. Better late than ever for the Piraeus club, which signaled a mid-season revival with only its second win in European competition this season. Though it needed extra time to snatch victory over the respectable Croat club, ailing Olympiakos proved that its team spirit is still alive. Commenting on the win over Cibona, Olympiakos’s Lithuanian coach, Jonas Kaslauskas, thanked the club’s fans for being in the stands to offer support for their beloved club. «We’re obliged to say a big thank you to the people who were there for support. I didn’t expect such a big turnout after the bad results before. I hope this win is the beginning of something worthwhile,» said Kaslauskas, who recently assumed the coaching post as the replacement for Milan Tomic, the long-serving Serb player who had spent over a decade with the club before taking over as coach toward the end of his tenure. Kaslauskas said he was satisfied with the performances of new signings Roger Mason, recently waived by the Toronto Raptors, and Hungarian center Robert Gulias, from Dynamo Moscow, but said that Slovenian guard Boris Gorenc had so far failed to produced the expected offensive goods. Point guard Marque Perry proved instrumental during the encounter’s crucial final stages. «We need work, as we’re a newly built team, and that was evident during the game. Perry played a very good match, and Gulias and Mason offered valuable support,» noted Kaslauskas. Mason and Gulias expressed satisfaction over their newly formed partnership at Olympiakos. «We made a good start and I believe the chemistry between us is good. Marque is the brain of the team and scored valuable points when needed. I need more time to adjust but already feel quite comfortable,» said Mason. «We want to make up for the team’s lost ground. It will be difficult, but we’ll try. The important thing is regain our pride, and, more importantly, prove that we’re a strong side at home,» said Gulias. Olympiakos remains last in the Euro League’s Group A, tied with Partizan Belgrade, which also registered its second victory, 83-77, against Estudiantes.