Versatile forwards Ramunas Siskauskas and Georgios Printezis are on the short list of players to have won back-to-back EuroLeague championships and they each played massive roles in their respective team’s success. Siskauskas played for three clubs in the EuroLeague during the period for which he was named to the 2000-2010 All-Decade Team and was the EuroLeague MVP with CSKA Moscow in 2008. Printezis, a 2010-20 All-Decade selection, blossomed after returning to his boyhood club, Olympiacos Piraeus, following a period away and scored its championship-winning basket in the first of the Reds’ consecutive EuroLeague triumphs.
These two players will be linked forever, too, due to the final 9.7 seconds of the 2012 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game.
Siskauskas was the ultimate small forward. He could score in many ways and possessed outstanding penetration skills and a high basketball IQ. He is one of just three players to win consecutive EuroLeague titles with different teams (along with fellow All-Decade selections Sarunas Jasikevicius and Dejan Bodiroga). Siskauskas led Panathinaikos to the 2007 EuroLeague title by scoring a team-high 20 points in the championship game against CSKA. He then joined CSKA and won the EuroLeague again as the 2008 EuroLeague MVP. His 18 fourth-quarter points in the 2009 semifinals against FC Barcelona remains a Final Four highlight. Siskauskas was chosen to the All-EuroLeague team on four occasions.
Printezis made the most out of his outstanding post skills and versatility as a power forward. He can score from the outside like a shooting guard, run the floor like a small forward and finish around the rim with either hand as one of the few true ambidextrous players in basketball history. Printezis led Olympiacos to consecutive EuroLeague titles in 2012 and 2013 plus appearances in the 2015 and 2017 championship games. Printezis was named to the 2016-17 All-EuroLeague First Team.
Siskauskas made his EuroLeague debut with Benetton Treviso and Printezis saw limited playing time in his first stint with Olympiacos. Neither seemed destined for stardom at first, but they proved everyone wrong.
Siskauskas’s final EuroLeague game was also Printezis’s finest moment. In the 2012 championship game in Istanbul, CSKA had led by as many as 19 points before Olympiacos stormed back to within 61-60. CSKA had the ball when Siskauskas was fouled with 9.7 seconds left. A career 76.7% free throw shooter, Siskauskas missed twice from the line. Kostas Papanikolaou grabbed the defensive rebound and immediately handed it to Vassilis Spanoulis, who took it downcourt and fed Printezis for a one-handed, right-handed baseline floater that went in with 0.7 seconds left. Olympiacos had won the EuroLeague title, Printezis was suddenly a EuroLeague superstar and Siskauskas walked away with the bitterest end possible to a fantastic EuroLeague career.
The two players met for the first time in Moscow on November 14, 2007. CSKA beat Olympiacos behind 24 points from an unstoppable Siskauskas. Printezis had 8 points on 4-of-4 two-point shooting. CSKA and Olympiacos faced each other five times that season – twice in the regular season and three times in the playoffs. Siskauskas averaged 18.7 points in that playoff series, which eventually helped him become the 2008 EuroLeague MVP.
They faced each other 10 times in EuroLeague action – Siskauskas always faced Printezis playing for CSKA, and Printezis did so with Olympiacos and Unicaja Malaga. Siskauskas’s teams went 7-3 against Printezis, who saved the best for last. Still active, Printezis is one of three players – along with Paulius Jankunas and Felipe Reyes – with more than 3,000 career points (3,209) and over 1,000 rebounds (1,325). Siskauskas played 143 games in which he accumulated 1,655 points and 423 rebounds.