Since 1988, eight Greek
teams had played in six Final Fours and advanced to title games in
1994 and 1995. But only in 1996 could Greek basketball finally claim
its first continental title at a club level, thanks to a dramatic
win by Panathinaikos at the Final Four in Paris. To get there, the
Greens had signed Bozidar Maljkovic, the coach who had already won
two titles with Jugoplastika and one with Limoges. As every year,
there were some newcomers in the competition, such as Unicaja Malaga
of Spain, Iraklis of Greece and Olimpique Antibes of France. CSKA
and Barcelona ended as their respective group leaderswith 10-4
records, and beat their rivals in the quarterfinals round, Barca
against Ulker (2-0) and CSKA against Pau-Orthez (2-1), just like
Real Madrid eliminated Olympiacos by 2-1 as well. The only team that
overcame the homecourt advantage was Panathinaikos, which had been
third in its group (9-5) and needed a one-point road victory over
Benetton Treviso, 64-65, to win their quarterfinal series (2-1). At
the Final Four in Paris, Barcelona won the Spanish semifinal duel
76-66 despite Real Madrid's 15-point lead in the first half (19-34).
Panathinaikos prevailed over CSKA by 81-71 thanks to a great
performance by Dominique Wilkins, the big star of the team, who
scored 35 points. In the breathtaking final, Panathinaikos beat
Barcelona by a single point, 67-66, on a last-minute blocked shot by
Stojko Vrankovic to secure the first title for a Greek team.
FINAL FOUR: Paris, France
FINAL: Panathinaikos - FC Barcelona 67-66 (35-25)
Panathinaikos: Alvertis 17, Wilkins 16, Ekonomou 10, Giannakis 9,
Vrankovic 0; Stavrokopoulos 9, Korfas 4, Vourtzoumis 2
FC Barcelona: Karnishovas 23, Fernandez 15, Galilea 10, Jimenez 9,
Godfread 9; Montero 0, Diez 0, Bosch 0, Ferran 0
Final Four MVP: Dominique Wilkins of Panathinaikos
THIRD PLACE: CSKA Moscow - Real Madrid 74-73 (34-35)
CSKA: G. Vetra 22, V. Karasev 14, S. Panov 13, J. Nwosu 8, E.
Kissourine 6, A. Kornev 6, I. Koudelin 5, N. Morgunov. Head coach:
Real: Z. Savic 22, I. Santos 16, M. Smith 14, J. Arlauckas 8, S.
Abad 4, JA. Morales 4, Antunez 3, P. Laso 2. Head coach: Zelimir
FC Barcelona - Real Madrid 76-77 (34-38)
Barcelona: A. Karnisovas 24, Godfread 22, F. Martinez 10, A.
Jimenez 8, X. Fernandez 6, JA. Montero 2, S. Diez 2, M. Bosch 2, JL.
Galilea, R. Dueñas. Head coach: Aito G. Reneses
Real: J. Arlauckas 22, Z. Savic 15, Antunez 11, M. Smith 8, I.
Santos 6, P. Laso 2, JA. Morales 2, Ferrer, S. Abad, Garcia. Head
coach: Zelimir Obradovic Panathinaikos - CSKA Moscow 81-71 (36-33)
Panathinaikos: D. Wilkins 35, F. Alvertis 13, S. Vrankovic 8, N.
Ekonomou 8, J. Korfas 8, T. Stavrakopoulos 7, E. Vourtzoumis 2, P.
Yannakis, M. Pecarski, Myriounis. Head coach: Bozidar Maljkovic
CSKA: V. Karasev 23, J. Nwosu 12, G. Vetra 8, S. Panov 7, I.
Koudelin 7, E. Kissourine 7, A. Kornev 4, N. Morgunov 3, A. Vadeev,
Kourachev. Head coach: Stanislav Eremine
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