Upper Darby, PA – It’s game time! The PGBL (Philadelphia Greek Basketball League), kicked off their season last night in the heart of the Greek community – St. Demetrios. The 9th season features 9 teams all seeking the same title, but only one will rise to the top and hoist the sought after trophy. Many questions, some changes and a whole lot of excitement are in store for basketball lovers of this very unique element of the Greek community in Philadelphia. Make sure to check out our newly introduced section, on our site for weekly and historic videos and photographs of the past seasons.
Who he is, we still don’t know after 9 years. But every week, this masterful wordsmith tell’s it like it is, with insight to the game. And know, Mr. PGBL gives us a breakdown of the first three games that make this year look very promising.
Spartans 51 vs. Ellas 42
Well it seems like it’s been forever but we’re finally back and playing basketball at St. Demetrios Gym in Upper Darby! The first game on the menu was the Spartans vs. an improved Ellas team. The Spartans started this game out with only 4 players and were able to hang around long enough to make a run when their 5th came. The Spartans offense was led by 3 point sniper Elias Apsis who hit 4 threes on the night for a total of 24 points, a game high. Good win for the Spartans and good job holding off Ellas down the stretch. The Spartans were in situations last season where they had trouble closing teams out. With the addition of Alex Zikos this year, that might be a little different.
Team Ellas was without their captain George Pantzaris tonight and it seemed to hurt them. Thodoros Arapis made some nice jumpers and led the team with 14 points followed by Ellas newcomer Tom Poulos who scored 11. Offensively the team was slightly stagnant and need to get some better ball movement in order to compete. But I think with the return of Pantzaris cleaning up the boards, these guys will be just fine.
Mr. PGBL’s Game Ball: Elias Apsis.
Kings 87 vs. Danny’s Boys 83 O.T.
It’s not a rivalry if only one team keeps winning, and that was the case until tonight. Danny’s Boys always seemed to have the recipe to beat the Kings but tonight the Kings made sure, this is indeed a rivalry. Led in scoring by Captain Bill Zonios with 21 points, the Kings were able to do something they’ve had trouble doing against DB, score lots of points. Zonios hit some big second half and overtime buckets to help the Kings hold off DB. Reigning League MVP Niki Veronis had a solid game offensively with 19 points, all while chasing Pete Kathopoulis on the defensive end. Nicko Balis and Pete Kada showed they fit right into the Kings scheme, both scoring 16 and showing they were great additions. The Kings led by 14 points with just 6 minutes to go but DB made a run and sent it to overtime, where it was Chris Kourelias who drained the game winning corner 3 pointer! Kourelias is not known as a 3 point threat but tonight, he put all those comments to rest. Good job by what will likely be my new number 1 seed, the Kings.
Somebody needs to spray a fire extinguisher at those nets because Pete Kathopoulis (48pts) was HOT! All Pete needs is a small gap in the defense and it’s bombs away, at a high percentage! Kathopoulis nearly had another 50 point game and was the main reason DB pulled back into the game after being down double digits. If this is any sign of what’s to come for Danny’s Boys, the rest of the league better look out. Unfortunately though, not much else was working well for Danny’s Boys. Last year’s Finals MVP Kosta Nikolos had a quiet night and seemed out of sync and the only other player in double digits was Dimitri Poulimenos (14pts), who always seems to step it up in big games and is one of the main reasons DB won their second title last winter. This rivalry will move forward and provide the fans with great entertainment and most of all, quality basketball.
Mr. PGBL’s Game Ball: Chris Kourelias.
Wolfpack 60 vs. Revolution 45
After a disappointing loss in the playoffs last season, the Pack are back and looking to regroup for another run at the title! Tonight’s game provided the league with a reminder of how tough these guys really are, and the best part about it was the balanced scoring attack. George Vlahos and Niko Papatsiaras led the team in scoring, both putting in 14 points and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Lou Sarris Grau put in 10 low post points. Point guard and leader Lou Karapanagiotides did an excellent job as always, distributing the ball and making sure the offense was well balanced. The deepest team in the PGBL, the Wolfpack are hands down one of the best, and looking to earn that number one spot. Great start tonight.
The Revolution suffered some off season losses this year but got a much needed return of Vasili Nasis who provides more size and offensive fire power to the Rev arsenal. Vasili lead the Rev in scoring tonight with 15 but seems like he’d like to get his feet under him a little better and I’m sure that will take a few games. The loss of Pete Kada and Kosta Pavlidis will indeed hurt the Revolution but as we all know, these guys always compete and are a tough team to beat. If they can start meshing with the current mixture of players, I’m confident the Rev can be one of the top teams this season and make a deep playoff run. The attendance is always a challenge for these guys but let’s see what the season brings.
Mr. PGBL’s Game Ball: Yioti Kasapis, for keeping the core of a well built excellent team together.