Panathinaikos have won the Greek Cup for the fifth year in the row after beating rivals Olympiakos 80-70 in last Sunday’s final.
Just as they did in last year’s final, PAO overpowered and outplayed the reds to leave Panayiotis Yiannakis’s men, who are top of the A1 League, wondering if they will ever find a way past Zelimir Obradovic and his players.
The game was a tight affair. PAO established a three point lead at the end of the first quarter (16-13) but this was whittled down to just two (32-30) at half-time. By the end of the third quarter, Olympiakos had managed to pull level (53-53).
Panathinaikos stepped up a gear in the fourth quarter, during which Olympiakos had led 64-63, and created an unassailable lead in the closing minutes.
Greens’ guard Dimitris Diamantidis was voted the game’s MVP largely on the strength of his three consecutive three-pointers that changed the game in the final stages.
The Greece international led the scoring with 16 points but he also contributed with eight rebounds and five assists.
Greece captain Theodoros Papaloukas was unable to keep up with his international teammate although he was the top scorer for Olympiakos with 13 points which included one three-pointer. He also dished out three assists.
PAO coach Zelimir Obradovic was typically diplomatic following the match, saying, “We’ve been through a bad patch during which we played poorly but we are now working together and the only way forward is by helping each other out. We have some tough games ahead of us in the Euroleague and the championship and we will have to continue working hard.”
Obradovic also praised the fact that the game was played in a good spirit.
Olympiakos coach Panayiotis Yiannakis also looked forward after seeing his side pipped to the post again by their fierce rivals.
“Panathinaikos have been together a long time and have patience but we didn’t have that and gave up some easy baskets,” he said.
“We will try to be strong because the targets ahead of us are bigger and more important than the cup. We will be more decisive than we were today.”
Despite tight security and only 600 fans of each club attending the game at the Hellenikon indoor arena, Panathinaikos supporters clashed with police before the game and some stadium seats were destroyed.
Olympiakos fans jeered their players at the end of the game. The win gave Panathinaikos their twelfth Greek Cup.