Real Madrid will again meet Panathinaikos in the quarterfinal tie before the Final Four. The crossing of the season will be repeated with a difference: this year the court factor is favorable to those of Laso. A year ago, Madrid prevailed 3-1 as a prelude to the Tenth that conquered the targets in Belgrade.
The development of that tie was very special. The first match in Athens was one of the toughest defeats of the "Laso era". Madrid came to the Palace of Peace and Friendship as fifth place and was overwhelmed from the first minute. The match ended with a scandalous 95-67 and 48 hours ahead in Athens to face the second game. And then the unexpected happened. Pablo Laso and the entire staff recognize that a comment from a Greek merchant in a store near the hotel made them change their mentality. "Sometimes basketball is so easy and so complicated that little things can change a lot in just two days. For the first game we felt that we were not prepared and a Greek who has a small shop next to our hotel told us: '' You looked like chickens. Did not you want to win or what? That phrase made us reflect and in the second game we played with much more courage and ended up taking the tie, "reflected Pablo Laso.
The setback served for the team to look in the mirror and recover their best version to reach the Final Four in Belgrade. Madrid prevailed in the second match 82-89 and in the two matches in the WiZink Center resolved the tie (81-74 and 89-82).
This season has the court factor, but, initially, you can not count on Llull in the whole tie. The main novelty of the Greeks is on the bench. The American Rick Pitino has relieved Xavi Pascual and Panathinaikos has set a remarkable second round to reach the sixth place and cite with Madrid.