The Group E picture in the Euroleague Top 16 picture is now complete after the penultimate round of games paved the way for the two Greek rivals Olympiacos and Panathinaikos to advance.
And that meant there was no room at the last eight hotel for Unicaja Malaga or for Fenerbahce Ulker, as they bow out with one game left to play.
Veteran Dimitris Diamantidis led Panathinaikos to a 69-60 win over Unicaja Malaga at the OAKA as his 13 points and 6 assists drove the Greens into the playoffs, leaving the Liga Endesa side high and dry.
Panathinaikos coach Fragkiskos Alvertis is aware though that they will face either Real Madrid or CSKA Moscow in the quarter-finals and that the road to Milan will be bumpy.
“We suffered a little bit of pressure at the beginning of the game, but then the situation became much better,” Alvertis said. “Our defence was the key point, but we still need to have a standard game in offense. We keep working and trying to improve our game. There is no preference of CSKA Moscow or Real Madrid for the quarter-finals. Both teams are great and played an outstanding season so far.”
Olympiacos advanced to the last eight without even playing as Laboral Kutxa did them a favour by beating a woeful Fenerbahce side 95-73 in Vitoria, thus eliminating the Turkish side.
German international Tibor Pleiss led Laboral Kutxa with 15 points but they are already eliminated.
Fenerbahce’s Euroleague season ends eerily like last season’s did: High hopes in the regular season but fall short in the Top 16.
In Group F’s only game of the night, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv advanced to the last eight by beating Bayern Munich 94-92 at the Audi Dome, a result which condemns a brave Bayern side to the Euroleague history books for this season.
Tyrese Rice hit two free throws with 6 seconds left to give Maccabi a 94-91 lead but sent Bayern’s Malcolm Delaney to the line with 2 seconds on the clock. The American made the first, and missed the second on purpose. Unfortunately, the ball ended up in the hands of Alex Tyus of Maccabi who chucked the ball over half-way, ending the German side’s hopes.
Rice had 18 points to lead the visitors.