St. Demetrios looked like the town square last night. Between the basketball gym and the church small hall, the Greek community mingled and watched opening night of the PGBL. The Philly Greek Basketball League, now in it’s 8th season kicked off with three match ups. Below, a breakdown of the games from Mr. PGBL’s Corner.

Rip City 72 vs. Sixers 58

Things looked shaky at times for Rip City but don’t forget this was only the first game. Opening day brings some jitters for many, but not Nicko Balis. Not today at least, as Nicko scores a game high 28 points to lead Rip City to victory. Jim Armenakis scored 15 and Stef Grigorakakis with 11 in a solid offensive performance. I believe this team will continue to grow together and get better. There is plenty of room for improvement, especially on the defensive end. But hey when you’re scoring 72 points a game, who needs defense? Just a little joke from Mr. PGBL, but next week will be no joke for Rip City as they face my #1 ranked Wolfpack. Get your popcorn ready for this one.

Chris Vasiliou and Eddie Bekas kept the Sixers in this game with outside shooting and penetration that resulted in free throws. Chris (21pts) and Eddie (20pts) combined for 41 of the Sixers 58 points. This team will rely on these guys to continue this offensive output. The Sixers actually looked way better than the score indicates. Second half runs kept the lead in single digits but the young fresh legs of Rip City were just too much late in the game. The Sixers are an older big team who thrives in the half court offense, so slowing the game down is what kept them close. I’m sure they will do the same in their next game vs. the Spartans.

Game Ball: Nicko Balis

Danny’s Boys 59 vs. Kings 45

No Pete Kathopoulis, no problem. Danny’s Boys, led by Kosta Nikolos with 16 points, showed great energy and teamwork. Especially on the defensive end as they held Foti Giannopoulos and Bill Zonios to a combined 17 points. Tommy Poulos was second in scoring with 11 points and several other player got on the board as well. Danny’s Boys looked very much in sync in this game and it all started on the defensive end with shutdown defense by Zeke, Kosta, and Ari Raptis. Great win for these guys and a great start to a season in which they look to defend their title. Next game against the Revolution.

The Kings were without their new point guard Niki Veronis, but in his place was Chris Pilarad. Chris came in and played well for the Kings, contributing where he could and scoring 8 points as well. But with only 6 guys in attendance, the Kings struggled to get something going offensively, and had trouble sustaining their defense. Foti Giannopoulos and Jim Kemmerer both scored 11 points but that was no where near enough. In order for these guys to compete, they need to have Bill Zonios and Foti Giannopoulos running on all cylinders. Both 20 point career scorers, these guys need to carry the scoring load. The Kings have never, not, been in the Finals or Semi Finals, so I expect these guys to be back.

Game Ball: Kosta Nikolos

Revolution 63 vs. Warriors 37

Last night, the Revolution did what they do best, and that’s win! The team with the most all time wins in the PGBL, recorded win number 55! Led by Pete King Kada with 20 points and Gus Rombos with 16, these guys looked energetic, intense and focused. They are now even deeper at the point guard spot with the addition of Vaggeli Carabasses, who only scored 4 points but made his presence felt offensively. Vaggeli is a very good point guard, proving it last night with some nice passes, ball handling and drive and kick outs. Good job by the Rev, nice new jerseys, and good luck in their next game against Danny’s Boys. That promises to be a great game.

Thursday was a night I’m sure the Warriors would like to forget quickly, but I still have to write about it. Will Galiatsatos and Nick Karalis combined for just 20 points in what could be the worst loss in Warriors franchise history. It seemed at times like these guys were trying a little bit too hard on offense instead of focusing on stopping the Rev on D. Forcing layups and shots will not get it done against a team that can kill you on the other end. Turn the page, look forward to the next game against the Mavericks and stay positive.

Game Ball: Pete Kada