Promitheas are ready for their first game ever in a European club competition. On Wednesday (10/10), the team that finished 3rd in the regular season of the Greek League and 4th overall, is facing Filou Oostende on the opening matchday of the Basketball Champions League.
It is somehow ironic that the group is populated with teams possessing a rich European background (Petrol Olimpija, Virtus Bologna) and others (Neptunas, Bayreuth, Strasbourg, Besiktas) who had considerable success in recent years. After the best season in its rather short history, the team from Patras sets out to outdo itself by embarking on a journey against much more experienced opponents.
Evangelos Liolios is the team’s owner and major shareholder. Prior to his decision to take on the administration of a relatively unknown Greek basketball club, he used to be -and still is- a renown doctor and enterpreneur. Since he specialises in the coffee trade business, the question seems inevitable: If Promitheas were a cup of coffee, what kind of coffee would it be?
“That’s a nice question, really”, responds Mr Liolios. Following an instant of meditation, he adds: “Do you know what I would like it to be? A “heavy Greek” coffee and even black. It’s the type of coffee I love”.
The same question was addressed to Christos Milas, once upon a time a player and the head coach of Promitheas and now the Chairman and Managing Director of the team:
“I think Mr. Liolios has more coffee experience than I do, but I would say that we will serve coffee of the best quality. The core has remained almost the same, but quite experienced players have joined the team and now I believe we have the best Greek athletes. We placed a great deal of emphasis on their character. I think we have made a very good ensemble, with a coach whom we know and who knows us. The ingredients are the same as last year”.
Q: How is this season for Promitheas?
Α: We built our roster, keeping and strengthening the Greek core of the team. This year, it’s our first European participation and we want to go as well as we can. The same applies to domestic competitions. At the same time, we want to achieve some other goals we have set and whom you will see along the way. These goals are not basketball-related nor are they related to the ranking of the team.
Q: For the fans to come to the gym, what does it take?
A: They want to see young domestic players, attractive basketball (something we already offer) and a team that always treats them as “clients”, providing them – besides basketball – with some other facilities, which are essential in order for them to have a good time.
Q: Do you think that the career path of Christos Saloustros, who was awarded as the most improved player in the Greek League last season, also reflects the evolution of the team?
A: We would like to think so: on one hand, the team will be even better than last year, on the other Christos will stay with us for the upcoming season as well. Some say that the result “makes” you because it produces results. If our team manages to stay solid after every defeat, as we did last year, success will come easily.
Q: Promitheas seems to be a team that is here to stay. What are the ingredients that can keep it high?
A: What marks our new year is the new “home” we have built, not for the men’s team but for our younger players. These facilities were a dream for many years that has now come true. They are some of the best facilities in Greece and all of Europe. This shows our determination and our will to succeed.
Q: Have you called for sponsors and supporters outside of Patras?
A: The sponsorship program that we have, is going very well. All the people who see the team from the outside and engage in corporate social responsibility, realise that it’s financially healthy and it will continue to exist. Year after year, the initiatives we promote will produce even better results.
Q: You are the only Greek team participating in European competitions that doesn’t reside in Athens or Thessaloniki. How hard are you expecting it to be?
A: We will see this year. We don’t know yet. We are still inexperienced. It’s something new and unprecedented for us. We’ll do everything we can to get the best possible result. I think that in a year from now, we will still be playing in the Champions League. That’s where we will be.