Panathinaikos meets Greek prime minister

May 09, 2007 by Vassilis Skountis, Athens Print
Greens meet Greek Prime Minister Mr. Konstantinos Karamanlis Newly crowned Euroleague champion Panathinaikos was honored Tuesday by Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis at an official reception at the Athens Maximou Megaron to congratulate the Greens for their fourth Euroleague crown. Team president Paul Giannakopoulos, vice president Thanassis Giannakopoulos and head coach Zeljko Obradovic were joined by the team's players and its staff for the ceremony with the Prime Minister. Karamanlis, a known basketbal fan and Panathinaikos supporter, enjoyed the opportunity to talk with the Euroleague champions. "It was a really tough game," Karamanlis said. "I didn't leave my place in front of the TV for a single minute. CSKA is a great team, but you didn't allow them to take charge of the game. You are a very talented team with great character, outstanding basketball values, and we feel very proud of you." Panathinaikos honored the Prime Minister with a small copy of the Euroleague trophy, as well as team captain Fragiskos Alvertis's No. 4 jersey and a basketball, both signed by all the members of the team. Karamanlis, in turn, offered memorabilia signed by him to all the members of the team.

Panathinaikos must now begin preparing for its Greek League playoff journey, starting this Sunday against Maroussi. The Greens finished the regular season in first place and will have homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. "Now we have to forget our triumph in the Euroleague Final Four and stay focused on the Greek League," Obradovic said. "There is one more goal to achieve and we have to be very focused. So far, we won the Greek Cup and the Euroleague and we have a great opportunity to take the 'triple crown' for the very first time in the club's history. This would be an outstanding achievement." 

Although Panathinaikos has never won the "triple crown" - European, domestic league and domestic cup titles in the same season - Obradovic did it in his very first season as a head coach, 1991-92 with Partizan Belgrade. During the 1995-96 season, when the Greens won their first Euroleague crown, they also took the Greek Cup, but Olympiacos was the Greek League champion. Four years later when Panathinaikos won its first Euroleague title with Obradovic, it won the Greek League, but AEK Athens took the cup. In 2002, Panathinaikos took the Euroleague, but AEK was Greek League champ and Olympiacos the cup winner.