Olympiacos Piraeus secured their place in the Final Four of the 2023 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs after defeating Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 3-2 in a hard-fought series. This marks their second consecutive appearance in the Final Four, after failing to qualify for the playoffs in 2020-21. They will play the winner of the series between AS Monaco and Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv in the semifinals on May 19 in Kaunas. Olympiacos finished the regular season with a league-best 24-10 record, before going on a seven-game winning run between Rounds 19 and 25. Coach Georgios Bartzokas has been credited with the team’s recent success.
The team split the first two games in Greece before splitting games at Ulker Sports and Events Hall. In Game 5, Olympiacos used the support at Peace and Friendship Stadium to break out to early double-digit leads before halftime, and maintain the upper hand on the way to an 84-72 victory. They were led by ex-Fenerbahce guard Kostas Sloukas, who scored 22 points. Kostas Papanikolaou added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Most of the Olympiacos squad can lean on their experience from last season’s Final Four. The team came up just short in the semifinals after Anadolu Efes Istanbul’s Vasilije Micic hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer. Olympiacos has reached eight Final Fours since the turn of the century, winning three titles, including back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013.
The veteran leadership of Kostas Sloukas and Kostas Papanikolaou, who were both members of Olympiacos’s title-winning teams in 2012 and 2013, will be key in Kaunas. The team will also benefit from championship experience in the form of backups Alec Peters and Joel Bolomboy, who were part of CSKA Moscow’s EuroLeague triumph in 2019. Isaiah Canaan and Tarik Black will be heading to the Final Four for the first time.