Euroleague Final Four puts on a mighty show

May 5, 2009

obradovicThe superb quality of last weekend’s Euroleague Final Four delighted basketball fans across the continent, not least those those fortunate enough to see the action live in Berlin’s O2 Arena.

The overall entertainment, garnished with the eternal rivalry between Greek arch enemies Panathinaikos Athens and Olympiakos Piraeus, was every bit as eye-catching as the recent
NCAA Final Four in Detroit.

In the end, Panathinaikos deservedly won their fifth Euroleague title after edging old foes and 2008 champions CSKA Moscow in the final, following an equally dramatic win over Olympiakos in the semis (click here to read our full report from Berlin).

CSKA and their star-studded outfit were hot favourites to retain the title, but a poor first half cost them dearly, although they almost produced one of the greatest comebacks in the tournament’s history.

Panathinaikos and their trophy-laden Serbian coach Zeljko Obradovic, who won a record seventh European Champions Cup with four different teams, erupted in joy with a visible sense of
relief after they nearly threw away a 23-point lead, as CSKA forward Ramunas Siskauskas came agonisingly close to burying a last-gasp, off-balance three-pointer.

Obradovic must be one of the most successful coaches in any sport at this level.

He who won his first premier European club trophy with Partizan Belgrade in 1992, repeated the
feat with Spanish outfits Joventut Badalona and Real Madrid before capturing an impressive haul of silverware with Panathinaikos after he took over in 1999.

The Greek giants have won eight national championships, six national cups and four Euroleague titles under Obradovic.

Good job he’s shown no interest in going to the NBA (not that he’d be welcome after comments like these).

PHOTO: Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic celebrates after winning the Final Four final game against CSKA Moscow in Berlin, May 3, 2009. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

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