Greek hoopsters bask in CSKA Moscow’s Euroleague triumph

Greek basketball star expatriates Thodoris Papaloukas and Nikos Zisis were crowned European champions after helping CSKA Moscow beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 91-77 in the Euroleague final in Madrid late Sunday night. The Moscow club had also beaten Maccabi in the 2006 Euroleague final. Papaloukas scored 12 points in less than 25 minutes of play and was also credited with four assists and four rebounds as his contribution to CSKA’s sixth continental trophy. Zisis spent under six minutes on the court and did not score. Papaloukas proved extremely valuable for the Russian club in the second term with two three-pointers, including one that capped a 7-0 run by CSKA. He also went coast-to-coast for a lay-up that gave the Russians a 42-41 lead at halftime. CSKA played a decisive third quarter to take a promising 63-57 lead that was extended in the final term. «This is a very important moment for me and an unbelievable thing for the team,» said Papaloukas. «The Euroleague was our biggest target this season and everyone deserves to be congratulated, because this was a really hard season. We had many injuries this season, but everybody showed great character and we managed to win a second Euroleague title for CSKA. It’s all about experience. We used all the experience we gained through so many Final Fours.» Meanwhile, in the domestic league’s quarterfinal playoffs last night, Aris beat host Maroussi 98-95 in overtime to level the best-of-three series at 1-1. Olympiakos tipped out AEK 70-68 for a 2-0 win in the series and a spot in the semifinals. Also through are Panionios following a 95-80 win over Panellinios, and Panathinaikos, a big 78-58 winner over Olympia Larissa.