P.A.O.K.- Aris 67-60
PAOK took advantage of their home ground and started the series with a win after a great 4th quarter, getting one step closer to their promotion to the Euro Cup group stage of the next season. The home side seized control early on by playing great defense, allowed only 9 points and ended the opening quarter in front 15-9. Aris soon balanced the game and left behind the poor start, achieving to equalize before half time, 31-31.
After the break, coach Priftis’ club was able to gain control by defending in zone formation to force many missed shots from the opponents. As a result, they could “freeze” PAOK’s offense and got in front 39-46 after 3 quarters. The key point of the game was the closing period when the home team got on the court demanding the win and finally getting it after 10 minutes of tight defense and explosive offense full of energy and passion. Top scorer for the winners was Bremmer with 15 points and Odum followed with 13 and 9 rebounds. For Aris Thomas also scored 15.
Olympiacos- Panathinaikos 76-70
Opening game of the Greek Basket League Finals between the two Greek giants, with the visitors taking advantage of the slow tempo and the anxiety of both sides, to get in front 10-17. Batista was absent but Mavrokefalides successfully replacing him and alongside Fotsis they got the point difference to 13, after 2 minutes at the second period. Sloukas tried to keep his team in the game since their shooting totals were bad, with 0/11 behind the arc, and achieved to start a 18-0 run which was not enough, allowing Panathinaikos to have an 1-point lead (33-34) after one half.
Right after the restart, Mantzaris and Printezis scored 6 consecutive points to put Olympiacos on the driver’s seat and since then they seemed to be in control because Panathinaikos met some difficulties in scoring and even after recovering they could not score points in a row to become a bigger threat. 55-50 after 30’ and Lojeski scored 5 more to increase the margin to 10, applying pressure on their opponents who did not give up on the match. Sloukas kept leading his side steadily towards the win and despite Mavrokefalides’ heroics (23 points and 7 rebs), was crowned as an MVP with 16 points and lots of energy on both sides of the court.