Plenty to play for in the Basket League on ultimate weekend
AGONAsport’s Peter Katsiris takes a look at the jostling that could take place in the Greek Basket League on the ultimate weekend of the regular season…
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While the top four in the Greek Basket League have already been confirmed heading into the final round of fixtures, there is still plenty to play in the Greek top flight – most notably the battle for safety and chase for the final playoff spot.
Battle for Safety
Teams Involved: Panionios (12th, 7-18), Koroivos (13th, 7-18)
Key Fixtures: Koroivos – Trikala, Rethymno – Panionios, PAOK – Gymnastikos
How things stand…
11. Gymnastikos (8-17), 33 points
12. Panionios (7-18), 32 points
13. Koroivos (7-18), 32 points
14. Trikala (3-22), 28 points (already relegated)
The battle to remain a Basket League club will go down to the wire as two sides, Panionios and Koroivos, remain at risk of relegation heading into the final weekend of action.
Despite a midweek loss to Olympiacos, Gymnastikos mathematically clinched safety in the top flight no matter what happens on the ultimate day of the regular season; however, the Larissa-based outfit could still play a factor in the relegation picture depending on their result against PAOK.
Should both Panionios and Koroivos win on the final weekend, a loss by Gymnastikos away to PAOK would see Panionios slip to the relegation zone in a three-way tie – allowing Koroivos to sneak into safety.
While Koroivos will be relegated if they do not beat Trikala on Sunday, the Amaliada-based side could still be relegated even with a victory should Panionios also win in Crete against Rethymno and if Gymnastikos defeat PAOK.
Showdown for the Final Playoff Sport
Teams Involved: Aris, Kolossos
Key Fixture: Kolossos – Aris
How things stand…
8. Kolossos (10-15), 35 points
9. Aris (10-15), 35 points
In what is the most straightforward battle on Sunday, Aris travel to Rhodes to face Kolossos in what is a win-or-go-home matchup for both sides. With both sides deadlocked at 35 points on the season, the winner of this matchup at the Venetokleio Indoor Hall will qualify for the playoffs as the eight seed.
Kolossos will extend their streak of consecutive playoff berths to four seasons with a win while an Aris victory on the island on Sunday will provide a remarkable finish to a season that saw the Thessaloniki side flirt with relegation for most of the campaign.
Regardless of which side clinches the final playoff berth, the eventual eight seed will face the difficult task of taking down Panathinaikos in the first round of the playoffs.
Classification for spots 5th through 7th
Teams involved: AEK, Lavrio, Kymis
Key Fixtures: AEK – Kymis, Lavrio – Panathinaikos
How things stand…
5. AEK (14-11), 39 points
6. Lavrio (14-11), 39 points
7. Kymis (14-11), 39 points
With all three sides guaranteed a playoff berth, the trio of AEK, Kymis, and Lavrio will look to finish up any jostling they can muster in the league standings on the final weekend in hopes of a more favorable playoff path.
AEK, who returned to domestic action with a disappointing thrashing at the hands of rivals Panathinaikos, will look to rebound from back-to-back losses and finish the season in fifth place with a win at home against Kymis.
The visitors, however, could end up ruining the party as a Kymis win at the OAKA Olympic Indoor Hall would not only remove AEK from fifth place but also put the club’s spot in next season’s Basketball Champions League at risk. Kymis’ shot at fifth place will only remain a possibility if Lavrio loses.
Lavrio, meanwhile, can only sneak into fifth place if they manage to beat league leaders Panathinaikos at home as well as see Kymis defeat AEK. With the Miners not holding the tie-breaker with AEK, there is only one combination that could allow Lavrio to clinch fifth and a playoff matchup with PAOK.