The opening game of the quarter-finals took place on Thessaloniki emerging PAOK victorious. The first game of the two teams this season brought lots of anxiety and as a result, no points were scored after 3 minutes. However when PAOK found the way to the basket, KAOD could not control the pace, resulting the first quarter to end 19-12. From that point on the home side tried to secure the promotion to the next round by focusing on tight defense forcing KAOD to run out of ways to threaten PAOK. With an offensive crescendo led by Carter during the last 2 minutes of the half, the score got to 44-28.
The second half did not hold any surprises to the 1.500 fans who made their way to the PAOK Sports Arena, since the home team took total control of the game, giving KAOD no chance. The final score was 88-63 with Carter leading the way with 17 points. All players scored for the winners who promoted easily to the semi-finals.
A.E.N.Kifissias- Aris 73-69
It was a very close game in Kifissia between the locals and Aris with AENK grabbing the win and making it to the next round. Aris started the game very well but soon AENK closed the gap and after 10’ the score was 21-22. The second quarter was no different with both clubs exchanging the lead, resulting to a close 40-38 halftime score.
Kakiouzis started well during the 3rd boosting his team and giving them a plus 8 lead but Aris found the answer soon enough bringing the game to equal levels again. 54-55 was the score after 3 quarters. During the closing quarter, AENK focused on rebounding, earning extra possessions and forcing Aris to retreat into a more defensive mentality. The game concluded with Thomas missing an easy lay-up and the home team securing a close win. Great game for the ex Greek team captain Michalis Kakiouzis who had 17p. and 9 rebs. Reed had 17 for Aris.
Panionios- Apollon Patras 63-81
Panionios with a lots of problems faced Apollon at home, playing with their U21 but with the fans on their side. The home side tried to stay as close as possible, using their energy and the boost given by the fans to match their opponents,19-20 was the score of the first quarter. The tight Panionios defense and their intense offensive rhythm kept them close to the game, giving them the edge by halftime 30-29.
The second half begun with Panionios struggling to stay close, but the more experienced opponents took control of the game with Calloway leading his team. The score after 30’ was 49-62. Panionios youngsters were out of solutions and energy, focusing mostly on cutting the lead by the end. MVP of the game was Calloway with 15, and for Panionios who had Deigatas on the bench, Montetsigkos had 22 and Petropoulos scored 12. Some very beautiful moments took place after the end, with Panionios fans entering the court and celebrating alongside the players and cheering them up, despite the defeat. Now the “Red and Blue” focus on the Sunday’s premiere against Kolossos for the Greek League.
Panathinaikos- Olympiacos 77-76
Moving on to the main event of the night, the big Rival game between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos was a nail-biting contest with the “Greens” taking the win and the ticket to the semi-finals. The game’s start had a decent pace, taking into consideration the many injuries the home team had and the fact that the game was the first important of the new season. Panathinaikos set a good pace taking a 17-14 lead by controlling the paint. Same strategy was followed by the home team during the second, forcing the visitors to many turnovers and bad offensive choices. However the gap between the two was only 1 point (33-32) at the break.
After the halftime talks, the “Reds” returned to the game determined to change things around. Using their players’ experience and good shot percentage, they took a good lead 49-60 after 30 minutes, putting coach Ivanovic’s players in trouble. Panathinaikos was not willing to give up on the game and they started the closing quarter defending tightly and playing with power and passion. Olympiacos did not defend well, leaving many open shots. Adding to that, Pappas had a great quarter offensively. This tight match-up concluded to an important 3-pointer from Diamantides and a fast break dunk by Batista, sealing the deal for the Cup holders. The two teams were not completely ready for that game, and it was clear, but the first impressions and pretty positive for Panathinaikos who played without several key players, including Gist. On the other side Oylmpiacos had some good moments but his consistency and his defending appeared to be their weakest spots. Batista was the MVP with 12 points and for being dominant inside the paint, while Pappas had 19. For the defeated side Printezis did his best (13) but it was not enough.