AEK was tougher and more prepared in the general rehearsal of the Super Cup and prevailed over Panathinaikos OPAP with 87-77. The protagonists of the winners were Moreira, Rice, Langford.
Elias Papatheodorou’s team was tough in defense after the first period, took out automation, found several offensive solutions inside and outside the player (Chrysikopoulos, Rice, Langford, Moreira and not only) and was in control of the match. In general, the “yellow-blacks” seemed more prepared and were not affected by the absences of Vlado Jankovic, Markus Sloter.
For his part, Giorgos Vovoras got a score from Ioannis Papapetrou – Nemanja Nedovic, but he saw his team face problems on both sides of the floor. At the same time, the absence of Howard Sand Ross was obvious, with the “clover” being unrelated to the last friendly of his preparation.
Of course, the question for the “greens” is to find stability in the performance of their foreign players, who so far have many ups and downs in their performance (except the Serbian guard).
The “yellow-blacks” entered the game better, found rhythm through their defense, got a score from Lino Chrysikopoulos (6p.) And showed control of the match (10-2 in 4 ‘). However, the entry of Nemanja Nedovic and the aggressive step up of Ioannis Papapetrou quickly changed the scene (15-17 in 7 ‘).
The interesting element in the last two minutes of the season was that the two coaches tried a small ball formation with Chrysikopoulos and Mitoglou in position “5”. In the “rich” first ten minutes, the scoreboard read 24-24.
In the second period, Elias Papatheodorou tried for a few minutes a team with three guards (Zisis, Gikas, Katsivelis), while then he put Langford, Rice together on the floor, while the “clover” also gave time to George Kalaitzakis. Both teams played more physical and tried to protect their basket with a tough defense (31-31 in 15 ‘).
Then, two three-pointers from AEK by Matt Lodzeski – Tyris Rice sent it to +6 (37-31). The consistency of the “Union” in the painted (11p. Chrysikopoulos and 9p. Moreira) allowed it to keep the lead until the end of the half (45-39 in 20 ‘).
On the other hand, coach Vovoras had complaints about the defensive dedication of his players and some unnecessary fouls they committed. The first scorer of the Greek champions was their leader with 10 points.
Another three-pointer by Lozeski at the beginning of the replay sent the difference to +9 (48-39). The duo Papapetrou – Nedovic was there again (49-46 in 22 ‘), but after his “outburst” the defense of AEK tightened. Once again, the “yellow-blacks” increased their performance through their defense, tried “traps”, stole balls and went for the first time to +10 (56-46 in 35 ‘with a three-pointer by Rice).
Panathinaikos OPAP took energy and responded with 7 consecutive points of “Nenta” (58-55), which was excellent, but … only offensively. However, Papatheodoros ‘team, which was lined up with three guards (Zisis, Rice, Langford), maintained the “upper hand” (68-60 in 30’).
Pierre Jackson (2 / 3b.) And Marcus Foster (goal – foul) gave the … slogan and set the tone for Panathinaikos at the beginning of the fourth period (68-65 in 32 ‘). As in the whole match, so in that period, the “Union” was cool, was not afraid of the “green” comeback, made very good collaborations and was ahead again with 10 points (75-65 in 34 ‘).
Papagiannis and White reduced the distance to -5 (77-72 in 36 ‘) and the “yellow and black” bench called time out to correct the wrong texts. The won offensive rebounds gave “breaths” to AEK and Moreira developed into a key player (81-73 in 38 ‘).
In the last two minutes, nothing changed substantially, with the “queen” reaching the friendly dominance, after … the icing on the cake of Keith Langford with the three-pointer in the last minute (87-77 final).
The quarters: 24-24, 45-39, 68-60, 87-77.