Panathinaikos fights on despite bad start

Panathinaikos defeated Efes Pilsen 66-56 in Turkey last night to continue its rebound from the dead for a place in this season’s Final Four tournament in Prague late next month. The Athens club, winner of three Euroleague titles over the past decade, lost its first three games in the second phase of group play, reserved for 16 teams divided into four groups. But last night’s win was Panathinaikos’s second consecutive victory in the revival attempt. Just days ago, Panathinaikos registered its first win against Cibona, undefeated in Group G until that night. Last night Panathinaikos was led by Costas Tsartsaris and Jaka Lakovic, who scored 14 points apiece. For Efes Pilsen, the defeat meant the end of its European campaign. With a round of play remaining, Panathinaikos, Cibona and Benetton are vying for the group’s two top spots, which lead to the best-of-three quarterfinal playoffs.