ATHENS - Greek side Panathinaikos claimed its fourth European basketball title when it beat last year's champion, CSKA Moscow, 93-91 at the Olympic Indoor Arena last night.
This is the sixth European title for Zelimir Obradovic, and his second as coach for Panathinaikos, after having led the team in 2002 to a victory over the reigning champs, Kinder Bologna.
That Italian squad was coached by the same man who coached CSKA last night - Ettore Messina.
Until last night, CSKA had given up an average of 64 points a game in Euroleague play.
But the best defensive team in the last decade, which had not given up more than 80 points in a game, did not play well from the outset of last night's contest.
Two Panathinaikos players led by Dimitry Dimiantidis, who celebrated his 27th birthday last night, shot from all parts of the court.
In the first quarter, the team shot 9 of 11 from the field to open up a 16-8 lead, which CSKA trimmed to 18-17 at the end of the period.
Obradovic then went to his deep bench, and Pana raced out to a 46-36 lead at the half.
The Russians came storming back in the early part of the third quarter, even taking a 51-50 lead. But by the end of the period, Panathinaikos had turned things around to take a 65-57.
Pana then held off a determined challenge by CSKA in the final quarter to grab the win.
Ramunas Siskauskas led Panathinaikos with 20 points.
Greece international Theo Papaloukas kept CSKA in the game with 23 points with a superb all-around performance, but it was not enough for the team to win a second straight championship.
In the consolation game, Marcus Brown scored with 1.2 seconds to go as Malaga beat Tau 76-74.
Marko Tucek led Malaga with 18 points, and Brown added 14. Igor Rakocevic led Tau with 16 points followed by Zoran Planimic with 15.
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