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Threepeat - When it rains, it pours

With the paths of two of Europe's finest clubs intertwined, it comes as no surprise when we say ladies and gentleman it is time to get ready for a trip down memory lane and reminisce a period of finals and semifinals in green, blue and yellow

10/10/2018
HOME · History · Threepeat - When it rains, it pours
Threepeat - When it rains, it pours
Throughout the years Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and Panathinaikos have faced each other no less than 38 times, out of those 38 times only 4 were in the semifinals and 3 in the finals, it goes without saying that almost every game between these two juggernauts entered the pantheon of basketball it also left fans longing for more. 

Panathinaikos won its first EuroLeague title in 1996 under Coach Bo?idar Maljkovi?, in those days Maccabi counted 15 years without a European title, the constant hunger for titles kept growing for the squad in blue and yellow but it wasn't until the 1999/2000 where Maccabi finally got its  chance to regain its European glory.

The 1999/2000 season started like any other with every European team gunning for the most precious prize of them all. With the season progressing there were at least two undeniable truths – 1. Panathinaikos who once tasted the sweet nectar of a European championship signed Coach Zeljko Obradovic and the yellow son Oded Katash to bring them back to the top. 2. Something special was happening in Tel Aviv.   

With Maccabi reaching the playoffs with home court advantage against Paf Bologna expectations were high and the yellow nation protected by its army of fans could not be denied making it to the final four in Thessaloniki. Little that everyone knew back then that these two teams would shape the landscape of European basketball facing each other in back to back finals and a threepeat of final fours. 

With the arrival of the yellow and blue aerial train to Thessaloniki Maccabi had the best support that a team could ask for as they faced Barcelona in the semis. The great late Nate Huffman made sure that Maccabi will have its title shot against Panathinaikos to end a period of 19 years without a EuroLeague title.

The finals were no less of a chess match between Coach Zoc and the duo of Pini Gershon and David Blatt, for every action there was a reaction, Zoc controlled the game but it was Gershon and Blatt's creativity that brought Maccabi back into the game, with the game nearing its end a corner three by Brisker brought Maccabi to within a striking distance, but then of all of Pao's players it was Katash who hit the dagger from distance to secure a 73-67 win and Panathinaikos championship. 

With two European league being formed due to the FIBA-EuroLeague separation, the two finalists stayed with FIBA, vowing to make it to the finals again for a second year in a row, the difference? Anthony Parker. Maccabi made it to the final four again with CSKA Moscow armed with a young Andrei Kirilenko a.k.a AK47 standing between them and the finals game. Maccabi got the job done and once again faced Panathinaikos in the finals that were held in Bercy France. This time the tables have turned and Maccabi controlled the game with Obradovic having to react. 

During the second half Zoc managed to bring his team back into the game, but a huge three point dagger by Anthony Parker left the greens chasing Maccabi till the very last buzzer where the scoreboard showed an 81:67 win for Maccabi and finally an end for a 20 year drought. 

The two teams faced each other again the following season in the EuroLeague semis with Panathinaikos being the ones to advance to the finals where they won their third trophy. Without a doubt these were glorious years for both clubs who knew that it was all a matter of time until they'll meet again in the final four, and so it was.


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