Spanoulis was named Final Four MVP in Istanbul, adding to the same award he won with Panathinaikos in 2009. But the guard remains a team player, first and foremost as the Reds prepare for their third Final Four in four years, and eighth overall.
“Personal awards are a great honour but if we don’t win the title again, it will come to nothing,” he says.
“I won’t deny it’s been a great season and I am very happy with what we have achieved. I know that many were not expecting us to win last year, but we did and this year we’re back again, so I’m filled with joy.
“It’s a great privilege to be named Euroleague MVP, something that I wouldn’t have won without the support of my team-mates. This has been a great season and we all hope to end it with the Euroleague title again.”
Like his opponents tomorrow, Spanoulis isn’t thinking too much about last year’s win in the championship game and says that a lot has changed since then. He quickly joked to some Greek reporters that the wet and windy weather in the English capital was one of the changes.
“It will be completely different from last year’s final, he said. “Both teams have changed philosophies, have different coaches and some players are different. For me personally it’s another great chance for our team. We don’t need any extra motivation. Being at a huge competition like the Final Four is enough.”
Questioning Olympiacos’ defence of the crown this season has been answered with semi-final place this year. With last season’s coach Dusan Ivkovic departing, the reigns were handed to Georgios Bartzokas, a man with big shoes to fill following the success of the veteran Serbian before him.
Bartzokas himself has answered those questions with a 22-1 record in the Greek A1 league, a Greek Cup final and an unlikely return to the Final Four. The latter though will be his toughest test though.
“Without a doubt this is my biggest challenge so far,” he says. “When I decided to become the coach of this team, I knew it would be a difficult task. We will try to make use of all our talent and fighting spirit. Till the end we’ll fight to win.
“We’ll of course try to express the talent of our players. In my opinion, it always exists. We have survived many tough games. From here we want to become a better team than what we were when we came here.”
Olympiacos face CSKA Moscow in game number one on Friday, tip-off will be at 18:00 CET.