One more win needed for title

Panathinaikos is just one victory away from capturing its eighth basketball league title in nine years. The defending champion, up 2-0 in its best-of-five final series against Olympiakos, greets its archrival tonight in what could be the season’s deciding game at the OAKA stadium. Panathinaikos fans will turn up hoping to celebrate yet another title victory following their team’s home game. Competition regulations for the best-of-five series bar the visiting club’s supporters from attending games. Should the series require a fifth game, which appears unlikley considering Panathinaikos’s commanding lead, the away team, which would be Olympiakos, will be entitled to a minority percentage of match tickets. Tickets for tonight’s game have sold out. In the Greek league’s one other remaining contest, Maroussi and Aris, battling for third spot in another best-of-three series, are locked at 1-1. Third place in the league guarantees a berth for next season’s lucrative Euroleague. Tonight, Maroussi, which greets Thessaloniki club Aris in Athens, needs to take full advantage of its home ground advantage to take a 2-1 lead in the series. To do so, Maroussi will need to improve significantly on its previous performance in Thessaloniki, where a heavy loss against Aris tied the series at 1-1. Victory for Aris in Athens tonight will give the Thessaloniki team a major advantage in its quest for a Euroleague spot next season. As Aris underlined in the series’s previous game, it does not mess around on home territory. Club officials and players at Maroussi, however, feel confident of a strong performance and victory tonight. «When we play at home, everything depends on us, regardless of who the opponent is,» said Maroussi player Costas Kaimakoglou. «We’re ready to live up to the expectations of a battle whose result could even be determined in the very final second.»

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