Hungry for further titles

The day after AEK’s sensational triumph in the national basketball league’s best-of-five final series against Olympiakos, which broke a 32-year title drought, players and officials appeared hungry for more success. «We’re not going to stop here. We’re going to carry on for more titles,» AEK’s captain, Nikos Hadzis, said yesterday, and commended his club’s reliance on domestic talent. «The team has built a very good nucleus of Greek players and that must be maintained. Beyond that, I don’t think the team needs anything more than two good foreign players who blend in,» the 26-year-old guard added. Now a key player, AEK’s captain was, no doubt, responding to previous seasons and considerable time spent on the bench. AEK has shown promise winning two Greek cups and the Saporta Cup in European club-level competition, but a national title had alluded the club for 32 years. On Wednesday, Hadzis’s side showed character to win the best-of-five series’ deciding match 79-70 against Olympiakos. AEK trailed 2-0 in the series before winning three successive games. Yesterday, Hadzis noted that, although his contract with AEK had expired at the end of last season, minimal talk was necessary for its renewal. «We met, discussed and agreed. I knew that this team met all the requirements for me to reach my personal goals. I didn’t need to search elsewhere,» said Hadzis. At the loser’s end, Olympiakos, which has been unable to rake in a national title for four years, already has its eyes focused on the new season. «The next season starts right after the last game,» said coach Slobodan Subotic. Today he will meet with the club’s general manager, Christos Stavropoulos, for preliminary discussions concerning plans for the new season. Talks with the club’s president, Socrates Kokkalis, will follow as soon as he returns from abroad. Subotic suggested that few changes would be made to his side. «Fundamental changes and experiments don’t work with big teams,» he said. «But we do need players with personality and class who have what it takes for top-level competition. In other words, we don’t intend to make the mistake of relying on big names and the fame attached to them.»

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