AEK Athens won their 3rd European Cup on their basketball court in Greece, surrounded by 19,000 fans and an electric atmosphere. The Roca Team just fell short during the final game of the Champions League. The AEK players’ offense, including leader Mike Green (19 points, voted Final Four’s best player) was hard to stop. The Roca team played with heart, but failed to stop the Greek machine, expert in the art of one on one. Despite their difficult opponents and the many three pointers by AEK, the ASM remained in the game, refusing to give in, pushing back constantly, like the exceptional Sergei Gladyr. At the end of the third quarter, the Roca Team was only three points behind (73-70). Then AEK’s Porter barraged the gamed with three pointer shots, bringing the score up (82-73). The AEK led by 12 pts with five minutes left (89-77). Gladyr scored, then Ali Traoré, Paul Lacombe and Cooper before Robinson fouled, and Gladyr stepped up, causing the AEK, for the first time, to falter and lose control (97-94 with only 29 seconds to go!) The stadium held its breath, the referees had to resort to video playback three times. But Monaco’s team couldn’t find the basket again and lost the game to Athens with a final score of 100-94.
Coach Zvezdan Mitrovic congratulated AEK for organizing the Final Four, saying it was a great show. Although the ASM team went one step further than last year, their season was very strong and the coach feels disappointed with the end result. Amara Sy, captain of the Roca Team, said that the game was the end of their European adventure, and felt that the team’s defence wasn’t as strong as usual. The captain wanted to congratulate his teammates for the great season in the Champions League, with the hope that next year, the trophy will be theirs.