Maccabi Tel Aviv’s late rally fell short of earning them a win at Panathinaikos, as they let the reigning Euroleague champions through to this year’s Final Four.
Dimitris Diamantidis scored 25 points, including five free throws in the last 15.7 seconds, and made a crucial last-second steal to snatch a narrow victory for the Greeks, 86-85. David Blu scored 14 points for Maccabi, who are headed by Russia’s national coach, David Blatt.
PAO, the six-time Euroleague champion will face other European giants in CSKA Moscow on May 11, while another Greek team, Olympiakos, will play Barcelona, with the final scheduled for May 13.
In his post-game interview, Panathinaikos coach Željko Obradovic made a point of mentioning the home crowd’s frenzied support, which was instrumental in his team’s victory.
“Our fans helped us a lot. (The end) was very emotional. All the players battled,” Obradovic said.
He added that the team faced a crisis at the beginning of the season after the owners decided to slash the budget, but now it seems to be over, as the team heads to Istanbul with only victory in mind.
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