Greek Cup draw separates Euroleague rivals until the final

The draw for the Greek Cup, which was held yesterday, ensured that Panathinaikos and Olympiakos will be kept apart until the basketball final, just as occurred last season. In the knockout quarterfinals to be played on November 18, Panathinaikos will face Panellinios, Iraklis will host Panionios, Aris will play Maroussi and PAOK will face off with Olympiakos. Then, in the home-and-away semifinals, the winner of the PAOK vs Olympiakos tie will play the winner of Aris vs Maroussi and the winner of Iraklis vs Panionios will meet the team to emerge from the Panathinaikos-Panellinios pairing. The semifinals are scheduled for December 23 and January 20. Panathinaikos and Olympiakos enjoyed away wins in the opening round of the A1 league last weekend, although in quite different fashions. Panathinaikos thrashed Olympia Larissa 83-48 away, in a game interrupted several times due to water leaking from the roof on a stormy Sunday. Fresh arrival Nick Calathes scored 15 points for the Greens, while Nikola Pekovic got 14. Olympiakos, on the other hand, had a tough task beating Aris 85-78 in Thessaloniki. The Reds’ new Lithuanian star, Linas Kleiza, scored 24 points on Saturday and was yesterday voted Most Valuable Player of the weekend. Josh Childress got another 17 points for Olympiakos, while new signing Aaron Miles was the game’s top scorer with 27 points. In Saturday’s other games, Maroussi bounced back from its loss to CSKA Moscow to thrash Kavala 81-61 at home thanks to a great second half; Kolossos edged out visiting Ilisiakos 75-68; Panellinios put in an impressive performance, beating PAOK 83-60 in Athens, and Trikala dismissed a depleted AEK side 94-86 in Athens. AEK was forced to field an all-Greek squad as a debt to a former player has stopped FIBA from approving AEK’s international transfers. On Sunday, Peristeri defeated Panionios 81-70 at home in its first match at the top flight since 2004. Jamie Arnold topped the scorers’ chart for the host with 18 points, while Yiannis Kalambokis got 19 for Panionios. Euroleague Greek teams will have a busy midweek, as three of them enter the second round of games for the Euroleague, after Panellinios hosts VEF Riga for the second leg of the Eurocup playoff tonight. Panellinios won 94-79 in Latvia last week in the first leg. Tomorrow Olympiakos travels to Spain to face Unicaja Malaga, a team that sports a former Olympiakos player, Giorgos Printezis. Then, on Thursday, Panathinaikos hosts Russian side Khmiki and Maroussi visits Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia.