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First ever European win anniversary!

Panathinaikos showcases 6 European Championships and many other distinctions throughout its stride in history. It all began back in the 1961-62 season and the Greens first ever participation in a European league against Hapoel Tel Aviv. The clover’s first ever victory came during its third European season for the 1967-68 campaign.
The first positive result went down in history on November 16, 1967. When Panathinaikos downed Steaua Bucharest 61-42 at the Panathinaikos Stadium for the then named Champions Cup. The Greens faced the Romanian team in the qualifying round. They suffered defeat in Bucharest behind 82-65 final game score; however in Athens they prevailed 61-42 committing an extra step in the league, under the coaching direction of Kostas Mourouzis!
Michalis Kyritsis was a member of that team, one which had an array of great names on its roster. What he recalls the most is the “magical” atmosphere at the “Kallimarmaro” stadium: “It was an entirely different deal back then. Each game hosted 30-40,000 people. In order for us to be able to reach the locker rooms we would enter from the northern side, the side where Ardittos is. The locker rooms where there. And in order to exit the stadium we would have to go through a portico… And when you would step foot out on the stadium it was a truly unique feeling. All the stadium’s lights would be dimmed and only the lights which illuminated the court would remain lit. And although there were thousands of people, in reality we were unable to see them. All we could do was hear… hear the echoes, the voices coming from quite a different fans’ stand. Everything was so different…”
Panathinaikos was up against a very tough team also bearing the title of the favorite: “Then Romanian basketball was flourishing! Steaua was a strong team and had many international players on its roster. But we always knew what we were after, stepping out on court”.
Don’t go thinking that there were any frenzy celebrations upon the occasion of qualifying… “Back then we had specific places where we used to hang out”, stresses Tassos Stefanou, a man who for 56 years has been walking side by side with Panathinaikos: “There were two places where we used to go: “Thraka” on Fokionos street and Virinis in Pangrati. Our wins but our losses also, used to be hosted at one of these two places. Administration, coaches, all of the players used to meet up there after the game”.
The same thing had happened that night also, after the first ever European victory. “Those were the days when the people had just begun to embrace basketball so warmly”, Michalis Kyristis adds: “Back then it was all about our rivalry with AEK. Panathinaikos temporally decade by decade was the protagonist. The archrival would change, but Panathinaikos would always be there, amongst the protagonists, the titles. And this is something which essentially had not changed to this very day”.  
Today, 46 years after that first European win…Nowadays, that Panathinaikos is described as the top team of the last 15 years, conquering titles every season, having conquered something actually all the more important: Respect from all who truly love basketball.
The encounter
The game began at 20.30 on November 16, 1967. Panathinaikos would grasp the lead from the first minutes, without however managing to escape behind a safe score advantage and was up at the half time by 32-27. Giorgos Kolokythas was the team’s top scorer up to that point having tallied 17 points. During the second half his teammates would be passed the torch in the scoring department to commit an exceptional job. Panagiotarakos and Peppas performed as first strings, Haikalis and Politis followed offensively and the win arrived, final score 61-42.
Panathinaikos’ line-up: Kolokythas 17, Politis 7, Haikalis 8, Panagiotarakos 15, Peppas 11, Kyritsis 2, Lekakis, Vassilakopoulos 1, Hatzigeorgiou, Konsolas, Kouzoupis.
DID YOU KNOW THAT…
…Deshaun Thomas had a great 2018-19 season with Panathinaikos BC OPAP, he averaged 10.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in EuroLeague action, added 13.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per Greek Basket League Regular Season contest?
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