Panathinaikos improved to 3-1 in Group E of the Euroleague Top 16 by beating Alba Berlin 79-73 in the German capital.
In a rare Wednesday fixture, the Greek side, who were without Dimitris Diamantidis due to injury relied on Jonas Maciulis, who led all scorers with 28 points, including six triples. Roko Ukic added 14 and James Gist hit 10.
“Today was a game that we had to win in order to achieve our goal of qualifying for the next round,” Panathinaikos coach Argiris Pedoulakis said.
“We have some new players, were missing others and therefore had some chemistry problems. But we solved these problems with our team defence, which was very good, especially after the first quarter, when we did not rebound well enough and made too many mistakes.”
Nihad Djedovic had 21 points to lead Alba Berlin but they remain winless at 0-4.
“We fought with the right energy today and saw that we can compete even with a big team like Panathinaikos,” Djedovic commented afterwards. “But it is really tough against opponents like this.
“If you leave them alone for one minute, then you are down by 10. Nevertheless, I think these games are great for us. We can see where we are and where we have to improve and we will get better from this. “
Despite the loss, the German side fought tooth-and-nail with the Greens and competed throughout. After a deadlocked first period, which was all tied-up at 23-23, the Berliners went on a 9-0 run mid-way through the second to gain an advantage.
Panathinaikos though responded with a run of eight points, unanswered inspired by Gist. A tip-in from Maciulis furthered Panathinaikos’ lead at the half to 45-39.
Back-to-back three-pointers from Maciulis silenced the loud Alba Berlin following in the third as the hosts staged a mini comeback. The Greens led 65-56 after three quarters. And despite Alba reducing the deficit to 75-71 with 40 seconds left, Panathinaikos held on for the victory.