Panathinaikos clinches first spot in the Greek Cup Final

It was a much expected game between two historic teams, with the home team being the favorite but Aris is in great shape this year and especially during the last couple of months and all signs showed a tight fight. Gist started hot scoring 8 consecutive points for a quick 8-4 lead that started to grow since Aris had trouble defending in the perimeter and rebounding, allowing too many open shots. 24-16 after 10 minutes but they soon recovered. They tightened up their defense, McNeil led the score for the “Emperor” and in addition, Raduljica and Kuzmic had foul trouble, weakening their interior defense. The visitors had an 8-1 run and overtook but Gist and Diamantidis restored order before halftime, 38-37.

The restart was a nightmare for Aris, or better put, a crescendo from behind the arc for Panathinaikos, scoring 24 points after 4.30 minutes. Aris could not find any solution, they lost patience in offense and Priftis’ last attempt to change things by switching to zone marking did not reduce the margin. The “Greens” used lots of young talents with Papagiannis shining with 3 blocks within 3 minutes. The score after 3 periods was 69-48. Last quarter was of no interest because Aris’ players were disappointed and Panathinaikos was still hot. Biggest margin was 28 points (85-57) and the final score was 90-69.Top scorer for the “Greens” was Feldein with 22 points nad Gist followed with 20. For Aris, Haggins added 16 and McNeil 17 points. Panathinaikos will have a shot at the title, his 17th, against Faros Keratsiniou or PAOK, in a game that will take place tomorrow (28/12) and will decide the second finalist.