Panellinios B.C., which boasts a history that few clubs in the sporting world can match, has brought its past to the present this season. The team's march to the Eurocup Finals marks the finest achievement in basketball for Panellinios in its more than eight decades of existence. Its fans are hoping that the journey won't end until they have the Eurocup trophy back home in Athens. Dubbed the "Club of Olympians" for its success in track and field events in its early decades, Panellinios was founded in 1891, but didn't start a basketball section until 1929. The club won the Athens regional title at the end of its first season with Christos Svolopoulos, Dimitris Sidiropoulos and Alexandros Sidiropoulos as its stars and with coach Nikos Nisiotis, later a candidate for the Basketball Hall of Fame, on its bench. Nisiotis remained the Panellinios boss for many years, leading the team to back-to-back Greek League titles in 1939 and 1940. World War II disrupted a promising dynasty, but a new period of domination was just around the corner. The emergence of the team's "Hrisi Pentada" – or "Golden Five" – led Panellinios to three Greek championships, three runners-up and two third-place finishes over a span of 15 seasons. Those five players - Mimis Stefanidis, Themis Cholevas, Aristides Roubanis, Panayotis Manias and Costas Papadimas - remain heroes to this day among the Panellinios faithful. Another rising star, Antonis Christeas, joined the team during that run of greatness and led the Greek League in scoring as Panellinios enjoyed an undefeated season and a new title in 1955. Its last championship came in 1957. The team placed third the next year and again in 1960, but a dry spell followed. Vasilis Goumas was the next Panellinios hero, helping the club to finish third in the Greek League on two occasions and to become a regular in the early rounds of the Korac Cup during the 1970s. Panellinios made a magnificent run to the 1986 Greek Cup final, but that momentum fell apart soon after and the club was relegated to the second division after the 1988 season. After two decades of relative quiet, often in lower divisions, new management took over in 1999 and the Panellinios resurrection began. It still took until 2004 for the club to return to the Greek first division, but by then the foundation was sturdy and Panellinios had a bright future. Soon, Panellinios made the first of four consecutive trips to the Greek League playoffs, though it always lost in the quarterfinals. It also became a regular in the ULEB Cup, winning its debut in November 2007 under head coach Ilias Zouros after more than 20 years away from European competition. Last season, Zouros took the team a step further. Starting in the Qualifying Rounds, Panellinios played its way into the regular season and then, led by Ivan Radenovic, advanced to the Last 16. Again this season, its Eurocup challenge began again in the Qualifying Round, but after dismantling VEF Riga, the team proceeded to win regular season Group G. Panellinios then played through injuries in the Last 16 and bested Gran Canaria in a tough Quarterfinals series, recording a perfect 7-0 record at home to reach the Eurocup Finals behind the inspired play of Kostas Charalampidis, Rod Blakney, Ian Vougioukas and Devin Smith. Already, this group has gone further in European competition than any Panellinios team before it. But with Zouros on the bench still and a first trophy so close for all of them, expect Panellinios to keep charging in the direction of the Eurocup title!