Final Four 2024 – Ataman: I want a Greek final, Kostas Slokas Panathinaikos president

Panathinaikos are preparing for their first final four of the EuroLeague in 12 years (24/5, 19:00) and Ergin Ataman spoke with NovaSports channels about the big date of European basketball in Berlin.

Panathinaikos’ coach, Ergin Ataman, has, among other things, insisted that Olympiakos qualify against Barcelona because he plays basketball with Giorgos Bartzokas on the bench.

The Turkish coach idolized Kostas Slukas and would yell at him during matches, “Kostas, come on” whenever he got into trouble.

What Ergin Ataman said in detail:

For the benefit of Panathinaikos in the match against Fenerbahce: “I think we are a good defensive team, we had the best defense in the Euroleague during the season. When you have a knockout game, the defense is always like the duck, it always has two, it has the company. The attack is like the cat, because sometimes you Lose. There’s no time for that in the semi-finals, it’s just one game, so I think our defense is our advantage against Fenerbahce.”

For losing Game 1 against Maccabi Tel Aviv: “Sometimes overconfidence is very dangerous. No one thought we would lose this first game. I don’t think so either, because we won every game at home in the second half of the regular season. And in the game, at no point in the game did I think we were going to lose. Last quarter we were 10 points ahead. Something went wrong in those last 6-7 minutes, we panicked, we made mistakes, how we handled Colson who made two very important shots, we made mistakes, one in front of our bench. We faced all this with a… delay, we made some mistakes, I won’t talk about the rest because I am already one of the sponsors of the Euroleague… It was unacceptable that we lost but we never lost our hope.”

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For the reason he said he would quit the team if they didn’t qualify for the final four: “To stop the shock we all went through, I had to give another shock. For the team, for the players, for the fans, for the press.

You love it when we do. And I did that to tell everybody, “Don’t worry, we lost the first game, but we’re going to make the playoffs and go to the Final Four.” You know I love Athens very much, every day I am at the beach, I swim, I don’t want to leave, but I took a risk and succeeded”.

As for whether he wants a Greek final: “Yes, I want a Greek final. Olympiakos did well to beat Barcelona. To be honest, even talking to my friends, Olympiakos was the team I wanted to win.

This team has always been tough on the field as coach Bartzokas has built a great system over the years. They manage their attacks well, they are a very disciplined team. They are two different groups, very different. I believe Real are a deep side in their attack with players like Compasso, Hessonia, Moussa and Tavares, but Olympiakos are a tough team, they play with more aggression and it will be a very tough game.

Predictions are hard to make, I saw Real Madrid as their most trusted team in this final four, but I don’t think Olympiakos will give them a ticket to the final so easily, for me it’s 50-50″.

To Kostas Slokas: “Slukas is one of the best players in the EuroLeague. I believed that in previous years when he was on the other side and played against me at Fenerbahce and Olympiakos. All I did was believe in letting him play. He came on as a sixth man for many games during the season. But every time it was difficult we “Come on Kostas,” we said, and he came to organize the attack.

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He’s also improved his defense this year, he’s the leader of this team and he has that role, because we have maybe the best players on our team, but we only have two guys with Final Four experience. And he understands that during the playoffs, he will definitely have to fight and play. He played well in the first game of the series, but he made a big mistake in the end and we lost. However, in the second game, he had the game of his life.

He was amazing here and Kostas Slukas showed that when he is fit he really can make a difference in all areas. In many games he played a lot, 34-35 minutes, sometimes I think he might be tired, but I think he is happy. You see him taking coffee now. He loves playing so much, he doesn’t complain.

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