Aris get Tbilisi tie on road to Champions League group stage
Aris’ path to the Basketball Champions League group stage will begin with a two-leg tie with Dinamo Tbilisi, while Cyprus’ AEK Larnaca will begin their quest in Belgium…
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The draw for the Basketball Champions League qualifying rounds plotted Aris’ path to the group stage of the competition proper on Wednesday morning in Mies, Switzerland.
Aris will begin their European campaign in the first round of qualifying after failing to secure a direct ticket to the group stage via the Greek Basket League.
The Thessaloniki side will first need to navigate their way past Dinamo Tbilisi in the first qualifying round before facing the winner of the tie featuring Porto and Nizhny Novgorod.
Should Aris successfully navigate through the first two rounds of qualifying, the Autokratoras will then face Czech Republic outfit JIP Pardubice for a spot in Group A of the group stage.
Dinamo Tbilisi, who provide the first hurdle for Aris, are defending Georgian Champions after retaining their Georgian SuperLiga title with a 3-2 series win over BC Kutaisi 2010.
Dinamo Tbilisi, who boast former Panionios big man Nikoloz Tskitishvili, will make their second appearance in the competition and will certainly be keen to improve on last season’s first qualifying round exit
Aris have competed in the group stage in each of the two previous editions of the Basketball Champions League, though this is the first time the club have been made to qualify for a spot in the group phase – mainly due to Aris’ ninth-place finish in the Basket League last season.
Last season, Aris finished the group stage with a 4-10 record and finished dead last in Group D.
Aris’ campaign tips-off on 20 September when the Greek side travel to the Georgian capital for the first leg before hosting the return leg in Thessaloniki on 22 September.
AEK Larnaca get Antwerp assignment
While Aris target a return to the group stage, Petrolina AEK Larnaca are seeking their first involvement in the group stage after falling to Romania’s CS Universitatea Cluj-Napoca in the first qualifying round in 2016/2017.
Replaced by Keravnos last season, AEK Larnaca are back in the Basketball Champions League qualifying rounds after taking part in the FIBA Europe Cup last season.
The Cypriot Champions will look to become the first Cypriot side to win a qualifying tie in the competition when they go up against Belgian outfit Telenet Giants Antwerp.
Progress against Antwerp would see AEK Larnaca face the winner of the tie featuring Red October Cantù and Szolnoki Olaj in the second qualifying round before taking on Lithuanian outfit Lietkabelis in the third qualifying should everything go to plan.
The ultimate goal for AEK Larnaca, however, remains a spot in Group C of the group phase, which will only be a reality if the Cypriot side successfully navigate the three rounds of qualifying.
Like Aris, AEK Larnaca’s qualifying path begins on 20 September though the Cyrpiot side will host the first leg at home before making the trip to Belgium two days later.
Basketball Champions League Qualifying
First Qualifying Round
1. Leicester Riders - Bakken Bears
2. Fribourg Olympic - Avtodor Saratov
3. Petrolina AEK Larnaca - Telenet Giants Antwerp
4. Dinamo Tbilisi - Aris
5. Norrköping Dolphins - Movistar Estudiantes
6. Karhu - Oradea
7. Red October Cantù - Szolnoki Olaj
8. Hapoel SP Tel Aviv - Proximus Spirou
9. Šiauliai - Lukoil Levski
10. Polski Cukier Toruń - Tsmoki-Minsk
11. Porto - Nizhny Novgorod
12. Sigal Prishtina - Donar
Second Qualifying Round
13. Winner of game 7 - Winner of game 3
14. Winner of game 10 - Winner of game 5
15. Winner of game 9 - Winner of game 6
16. Winner of game 8 - Winner of game 1
17. Winner of game 11 - Winner of game 4
18. Winner of game 12 - Winner of game 2
Third Qualifying Round
19. Winner of game 18 - Sakarya Buyuksehir
20. Winner of game 15 - Nanterre 92
21. Winner of game 16 - UCAM Murcia
22. Winner of game 13 - Lietkabelis
23. Winner of game 17 - JIP Pardubice
24. Winner of game 14 - medi Bayreuth