Giannakis: "United..."

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The first... jump-ball of the season for the A1 league took place Thursday noon in a hotel in the center of Athens, during the Press Conference of ESAKE.

The spotlight was aiming the coaches and the captains of the 14 teams of A1, while Vasilis Economides (president of ESAKE), Kostas Charalampidis (General Secretary of PSAK) and Panagiotis Giannakis (president of the Greek Basketball Coaches Association) opened up the Press Conference with their speeches.

"I wish everybody a good year. The Association dreams of a championship without violence, which will give the opportunity to more Greek players to shine and play in the highest level. We want the new season to find everybody more united, so we have to keep everything that bonds us and let aside the thing the make us grow apart. Only by helping each other we can get a better result" quoted Panagiotis Giannakis.

Kostas Charalampidis represented the player's union saying that "our wish is to overcome all the latest problems. Beside our wished we are willing to take part in any dialogue which aims at ever better solutions. We are taking the side of those who doubt the established thesis and those who want to flutter the dovecotes. We cannot understand how teams with no participation certificate or teams which owe money from last year can compete. We have to protect our championship. There is plenty of room for reversals. The elimination of fanaticism is our responsibility, because we are obliged to show that basketball is only a game".

In the beginning of the procedure Vasilis Economidis noted that "we want a better and more competitive championship, which will be again reliable. This day belongs to the coaches, the players and the teams and the only thing we can say is that basketball‘s dynamic comes from cooperation. We have to be in a continuous communication with everybody involved, in order to change thoughts, proposals and arguments, because as we know through dialogue only good thing can arise".

The coaches' quotes

 Zeljco Obradovic (Panathinaikos): "Our goal is simple: we want to play good basketball and give pleasure to our fans. These are the things that we talk about everyday with our players. Last year we had a heck of a season and we had a lot of time a packed arena. That is something we want to repeat".

Panagiotis Giannakis (Olympiakos): "If a team wants to get the result, it has to be patient. That is the element that defines the sport of marathon. We must have at the end of the season the freshness and the clear head. All these demand time, because we have 11 new players. We will fight above all our powers to make proud our fans, showing a good result on and out of the court".

Alexander Trifounovic (Panionios): "We are preparing to face a two-way challenge, because we have the Greek Championship and the Euroleague. Our primal goal is to maintain our position. The really good teams are those who step up in such challenges".

Soulis Markopoulos
(Maroussi): "Our ambitions have become greater, despite the fact that we don't want to name an exact goal. We look forward playing good basketball, like we did in the end of the season. With hard work and patience we will manage to get the wanted result".

Andrea Matson (Aris): "I think that this is the best championship of the last few years. We will try -like everyone else- for the best".

Elias Zouros (Panellinios): "We want to make a step forward, like every team does. The friendly games don't play an important role, because they are preparation games. We want to play good basketball, like we did in the second half of the season and fill our arena".

Kostas Flevarakis (AEK): "Our team is brand new in every aspect. That's why we set a goal only for the next day. This is the only way to get the result we want, doing something better than what everybody expected during the summer. We are still left behind, but we are optimistic that this difficult season will pass quite painless".

Giorgos Bartzokas (Olympia Larissas): "Our goal is to adjust seven new faces to our philosophy. Also we want to find our balance between the antagonism of the Greek Championship and the pleasure and the creativeness of the game. If we manage to do so, that means we will have succeeded".

Thanasis Skourtopoulos (Aigaleo): "We will fight again to show that we deserve a spot in A1. The foreign players are a part of the team like the Greeks are. They are the most important part, but we avoid such discriminations".

Vaggelis Alexandris (AEL): "I wouldn't say that this year is a hazardous mission. It has its risk, because we chose a lot of young players. On the other hand, that fills us with joy and optimism that we can create new protagonists. Greek basketball needs them, it needs recycle".

Giannis Sfairopoulos (Kolossos Rhodes): "The bar is set higher for a country team like us. Our goal is to establish the team in the A1 league. We want to show to the basketball world that we belong in the A1. To get that we have to get a few wins to apart ourselves form the bottom of the standings and then -without pressure- fight for something better".

Argiris Pedoulakis (PAOK): "In PAOK we are making a team effort to replace the reclaim the team's posthumous. First of all we have to build our mindset. The history, the brand name and the fans of PAOK makes think only the Euroleague. We don't say that we can make it in our first attempt, but you always have to work with a great goal".

Giannis Christopoulos (Trikala): "Patience is a much needed element for every new team like us".

Kostas Pilafidis (Kavala): "We start from scratch. The time wasn't plenty, but we ought to look one game at a time and see what we have done in the end".


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