Ergin Ataman: “Our goal is to reach the Final Four”

2023-06-25T12:57:58+00:00 2023-06-25T13:00:43+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

25/Jun/23 12:57

Determined to resurface Panathinaikos as a dominant force, new head coach Ergin Ataman set the target and necessary steps

By Johnny Askounis/

Reminding his approach to Anadolu Efes in 2017, Ergin Ataman anticipates a similar recipe to work out for Panathinaikos as well.

Ataman, 57, revealed the endgame for the team based in Athens, a few days after being officially named head coach.

“Our goal is to reach the Final Four, for sure. I can’t lower the target. I can’t say ‘our goal is to make the Playoffs’, in a club like Panathinaikos,” he stressed in an interview with Turkish outlet Fanatik.

Back in 2017, a few months before signing up for the latest stint at Efes, crosstown rival Fenerbahce became the first Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion from Turkiye. His efforts eventually led to Efes winning back-to-back championships in 2021 and 2022.

“When I took over Efes, I targeted Fenerbahce with [Zeljko] Obradovic. Why? Because Fenerbahce was one the best clubs in Europe at that time,” he recalled, “The same applies to Olympiacos. I will base my squad on Olympiacos. If we surpass Olympiacos, we will play in the Final Four and win the domestic championship.”

“We will use our budget in the best way possible”

The Greens have officially added Kostas Antetokounmpo and Dimitris Moraitis and recalled Nikos Chougkaz from his loan assignment. Combo guard Luca Vildoza is set to join forces with Ataman as well.

“We have made significant progress with the players high on our list,” the Panathinaikos boss commented on building the rest of the squad, “We also have more players, as a backup plan. We will not panic. We will use our budget in the best way possible.”

Shifting the focus to the international level, the experienced tactician is in charge of Turkiye in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments to be held in Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem Dome from 12 to 20 August. From there, the next task will be the 2023-24 season at the club level with Panathinaikos.

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