Quartet ready to fly Greek flag at EuroLeague Final Four in Belgrade
Despite playoff round exits for Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, Greece will have representation at the 2018 EuroLeague Final Four after all…
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For the sixth time in the history of the EuroLeague under the oversight of the EuroLeague Basketball Company, no Greek club will compete in the Final Four of the competition.
Playoff exits for Olympiacos and Panathinaikos means that neither of Greece’s clubs will feature in the tournament’s showcase in Belgrade this weekend, but two Greeks will be flying the Greek flag in the Serbian capital as they look to lead their sides to glory.
Defending champions Fenerbahce wouldn’t be where they are without the services of Kostas Sloukas as the Greek international plays an important role in the Turkish side’s offense. After helping guide Fenerbahce to their first-ever EuroLeague title last season at the expense of his former employers Olympiacos, Sloukas will look to repeat as European Champion in back-to-back seasons -- a feat he managed with Olympiacos in 2012 and 2013.
Sloukas and his Fenerbahce teammates will need to be at their best in order to take out upstarts Zalgiris Kaunas, who shocked Olympiacos to reach the Final Four for the first time since 1999.
Meanwhile, Dimitris Itoudis will hope to steer CSKA Moscow to the Russian side’s eighth all-time EuroLeague title. The Greek coach won five EuroLeague titles as an assistant while at Panathinaikos from 1999 through to 2012.
Itoudis, whose coaching staff also includes two Greeks in the form of Andreas Pistiolis (assistant coach) and Kostas Hatzichristos (athletic trainer), eventually won a EuroLeague title as head coach in his second season with CSKA -- a feat he’ll look to repeat after guiding CSKA to the best overall record during the regular season.
Before CSKA can even think of adding to their haul of seven EuroLeague titles, the they will need to negotiate a tricky semifinal that sees the Moscow giants clash with the most successful club in EuroLeague history in Real Madrid.
The EuroLeague Final Four tips-off with the semifinal clashes on Friday before the third place match and Final on Sunday.