Text size

BOLOGNA - Turkish guard Ibrahim Kutluay scored decisive points in the closing minutes as Panathinaikos Athens defeated defending champion Kinder Bologna 89-83 last night to capture the 2002 Euroleague title.

Yugoslav guard Dejan Bodiroga, Kutluay and veteran center Lazaros Papadopoulos were the key players for the winning team, which recovered from a 14-point second-quarter deficit to win at the Palamalaguti sports palace, Kinder's home court.

It was the third European title for Panathinaikos, a losing finalist to Maccabi in last year's final of the Suproleague, a rival competition.

This year's Euroleague Final Four in Bologna marked the reunification of the top European basketball club competitions.

Panathinaikos had defeated Maccabi in Friday's semifinals while Kinder downed fellow Italians side Benetton Treviso.

While the pundits had speculated that Kinder or Maccabi would be most likely to win the cup, Panathinaikos took the European crown for the third time (after victories in 1996 and 200).

It was also a personal triumph for coach Zelimir Obradovic who has now become the most successful European coach of all time, having led teams to victory five times.

Scorers: Panathinaikos: Fangiskos Alvertis, 11; Johnny Rogers, 7; Damir Mulaomerovic, 6; Dejan Bodiroga, 21; Darryl Middleton, 10; Ibrahim Kutluay, 22; Lazaros Papadopoulos, 12.

Kinder: Manuel Ginobili, 27; Sani Becirovic, 4; Antonio Granger, 10; David Andersen, 3; Antoine Rigaudeau, 3; Rashard Griffith, 2; Matjas Smodis, 23; Marko Jaric, 11.