AEK faces Olympiakos in do-or-die encounter

Ahead 2-0 in the best-of-five final for basketball’s national league title, Olympiakos will seek to cement the series tonight with a victory against a troubled AEK side. Besides providing the Piraeus team with its first title in four seasons, victory tonight would also give Olympiakos an unprecedented clean sweep in the best-of-five final series since its introduction to domestic competition 10 years ago. AEK will be playing at home, but back-to-back losses have punctured the morale of fans, as reflected by the low demand for match tickets. The disappointment has also spilled over into the team’s ranks. Following Sunday’s second loss, the team’s coach Dragan Sakota and guard Chris Carr made a mutual agreement to end the player’s contract. Coach Sakota, according to reports, holds the former Boston Celtics athlete primarily responsible for the loss. Adding to the woes, point guard J.R. Holden incurred an injury on Sunday and will miss tonight’s encounter. Despite AEK’s problems, captain Nikos Hadzis has kept his faith. «I think we’re a better team than Olympiakos, but just haven’t proved it yet,» Hadzis said yesterday. At Olympiakos, a low profile is being kept. «The 2-0 lead gives us an advantage but not the title,» warned team coach Slobodan Subotic. «Each game is another story. We begin from scratch, knowing that AEK will play its last card, and as a result, will be tougher.»