PAOK spared relegation as AGOR Rethymno goes down
AGOR Rethymno is the second team to be relegated from the A1 basketball division after going down 80-48 at Olympiakos yesterday. The Cretan team finished level on points with Kolossos Rhodes, but Kolossos has beaten AGOR twice this season, so coach Argyris Pedoulakis’s side is going down along with bottom club Olympiada Patras. This had been Rethymno’s first season in the top flight and they had gained their promotion from the A2 division as Sporting had forfeited their right to advance to the A1 for financial reasons. Yesterday Kolossos lost at home to AEK 74-79, so the big Thessaloniki derby between PAOK and Aris was of no importance for the A1 status of PAOK. The derby’s tipoff was delayed due to the scraps of paper and some missiles hurled by the 7,500 PAOK fans from the stands. This allowed the news from Rhodes to come in midway through the third period of the game and relieved PAOK from the pressure to beat Aris. The atmosphere, which had been very tense in the first half (12-12 after the first 10 minutes and 36-36 at halftime), suddenly became much more relaxed, with the relief being obvious around the PAOK Sports Arena at Pylaia. Eventually Aris won 74-75. In the other games of the last round of the A1 regular season, Panathinaikos finished first, beating Panellinios 95-84, Olympia downed Panionios 84-73 in Larissa, Aegaleo defeated Olympiada 102-66, and Maroussi grabbed sixth spot in the table by seeing off Larissa 90-74. The pairs for the first round of the playoffs are: Panathinaikos vs Olympia, Olympiakos vs AEK, Aris vs Maroussi and Panionios vs Panellinios. The best-of-three ties will begin on May 3.