Panathinaikos can win at Valencia Basket

The Greens are on a winning streak after playing the last 3 Euroleague rounds at home, but this doesn’t mean anything. Every game is a new challenge and Panathinaikos needs to prove, again and again, every week, they can reach a spot in the Final 4 of the competition. Tonight they will have a big test in Valencia, facing one of the bravest squads of the season.

The host team is aiming as well for a big result against PAO, trying to stay close to the playoffs. In spite of the injuries, the Spaniards had some amazing wins so far, including unexpected victories away at Fenerbahce, Khimki and Sankt-Petersburg. But Panathinaikos is an uncomfortable opponent because of three factors: a larger roster, a huge Euroleague’s experience of their players and a smart coach in Rick Pitino. That’s why I trust the visitors with the first chance in this duel, especially because they have no problem winning away. They did it already this season at Zalgiris, Zenit, CSKA, Bayern.

In the last game, Valencia Basket couldn’t count on big man Mike Tobey, Jordan Loyd and Joan Sastre Moro. Their absence will be a plus for Panathinaikos, a team that can speculate in their favour exactly this kind of situations. If Obradoiro beat Valencia Basket this weekend, why wouldn’t the Greeks beneficiating of their impressive rotation? Recently signing Andrew Rautins, the Greens proved their ambition to have 12 men experienced roster, in order to face any situation on the court. The move was needed because Nikos Pappas is still injured and Panathinaikos wanted to have all the necessary offensive weapons to succeed. But the most important thing that will count tonight, at the game time, is the motivation, a chapter where the Greek squad is one of the best in entire Europe.

Photo: Euroleague

Gratian Cormos