Olympiacos progressed to the Euroleague Final Four by ousting Barcelona 71-68 in a thrilling tie in Piraeus, thus winning the series 3-1.
And it was shades of the 2012 championship game as Georgios Printezis hit a game-winner on the buzzer to send the Catalan side packing. But while nothing may top his floater against CSKA Moscow, three years ago, the Greek star has given his side a shot of repeating a similar feat in Madrid.
“When the ball came to me, I didn’t have the time to think about,” Printezis explained. “I just shot it and God helped it to go in. The main reason we are here is because we have strong character and we can beat any team playing good or playing bad.”
Vassilis Spanoulis led Olympiacos with 17 points as the Greeks advance to their third Final Four in five years.
“It’s all about a huge success,” Spanoulis said. “I think that we deserved to advance to the Final Four and I am looking forward to playing there and fighting for the best possible result. We proved that we can beat any opponent, not only in a single game but in a series as well.
“The turning point for us was the way we lost game one there. We have been very frustrated because of our bad performance and the defeat hurt our egos. Barcelona is a great team and you have to be very strong in order to beat them three times in a row.”
Ante Tomic led Barca with 13 points.
While there was despair for Barcelona, there was joy for their rivals Real Madrid who aim to make it third time lucky as they went through to the Final Four, thanks to a 76-63 win over Anadolu Efes in Istanbul.
Real Madrid won the series 3-1 and will appear in their third straight Final Four.
“We had incredible success as a team,” Real coach Pablo Laso stated. “We are really very happy. We fought really hard from the beginning till the end. Anadolu Efes also did the same. They performed extremely well in defence all series. We moved the ball really well in offense and made the right choices in the second half. This was the key for the win.”
Rudy Fernandez led Madrid with 17 points with Sergio Llull adding 14 points and five assists as they overturned a 39-33 half-time deficit into a 51-49 lead at the end of third. The Liga Endesa side and last year’s Euroleague runners-up struggled to keep pace with their Turkish counterparts until they retreated to the locker room and began the second half.
From there, Real Madrid played sublime basketball and now get the chance to play at their home venue, becoming the first team since Panathinaikos in 2007 to compete in a “home” Final Four.