Maroussi stuns Alba to reach group stage

Despite being an underdog, Maroussi has managed to play its way to the Euroleague group stages, stunning Germany’s greatest basketball force, Alba Berlin, on Sunday. The northern Athens side may have lost by five points (75-70) on the night in the German capital, but managed to successfully defend its nine-point lead from last Tuesday’s first leg in Athens and will be entering Group C of Europe’s top club competition as of next week. Having beaten Greek rival Aris in the first qualifying round, Maroussi has now eliminated a German team that has a budget of 12 million euros, financing that only be matched by Greece’s two other Euroleague participants, titleholder Panathinaikos and last season’s semifinalist Olympiakos. Coach Giorgos Bartzokas’s team finds itself in the same group as CSKA Moscow (Russia), Caja Laboral (Spain), Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia), Virtus Roma (Italy) and Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel).