By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Panko is a veteran of 13 season as a pro, but on Monday he will have a whole new experience. Panko still is a rookie in the clashes between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos in Greek league, one of the biggest games around Europe with the Greens hosting on Monday the Reds for the second gameday of the league.
Panathinaikos’ forward spoke to Eurohoops about the upcoming game after the Euroleague win against Cantu and he doesn’t care if he have to face such an opponent so early in the season: “I don’t think about it that way. Any time you have a derby, regardless if it’s Olympiacos – Panathinaikos, you just get up for those games. They are important games, you know, it’s a derby in Athens, they are the defending European champions, defending Greek champions. And any time you play in a derby it brings something special out of every player, out of the fans. I am sure it’s going to be a great game to come and watch. We have to play hard for 40 minutes, play strong because they are a very good team”.
Panko accepts that Olympiacos is the favorite of the game, but adds: “Of course, because they are the defending champions. Until they lose, they are favorites. Last year they were the hunter, now they are the hunted. You know? Everybody wants to beat them and it’s normal. That’s how it should be”.
That doesn’t mean that he wants to talk big before the game. He was just happy that his team had beat Cantu on Thursday: “We have a long way to go. Like I said before it’s good to get the first win (ed.note: in Euroleague) under our belt, we have a lot of new guys in our team, every game is tough in Euroleague and when you can win a game it’s fantastic. So, I am happy”.