A repetition of last year's Saporta Cup Final, has taken place in Athens, where AEK won in a very interesting and dramatic way its very first official game of this season. With Antoine Rigaudeau missing his last 3-point shot, Kinder Bologna lost the opportunity to win in extremis a game, which for the most of its duration was a mission impossible.
Vrbica Stefanov and Ibrahim Kutluay led AEK in a run and gun game against a team which didn't manage to react at all. AEK was leading by 18-2 after 5 minutes, but the third foul of Andrew Betts gave Kinder the possibility of an amazing come back: 29-28, 7 minutes before the end of the second period and 39-36 at the half time.
The duel Panteliadis- Stefanov, two point guards that Dusan Ivkovic put together and the 3 points shots made by Milan Gurovic, led AEK in a new explosion: 8 minutes before the end of the game Kinder was almost dead, but, 'never say die'. Rigaudeau hit some fantastic 3-pointers and put the signature of his class, as Kinder made a 15-0 run and the game started from the beginning again. The Italian team came to the closest difference (71-70), just before Rigaudeau gave the lead (73-75), 2 minutes before the end. A thrilling finale had to decide the winner: Kakiouzis made the score 78-75, Griffith answered (78-77)and Rigaudeau had the last shot from 6.25m. but he missed. Finally AEK has escaped from the Italian siege.
Wednesday, October 18, 2000