ATHENS (Euroleague/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - There will be a lot of national team players on display Friday when defending champions Olympiacos host Caja Laboral in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.
It will be the third meeting between the European heavyweights this season, with Olympiacos having won twice in the Regular Season. Caja Laboral, following the removal Dusko Ivanovic as coach and appointment of Zan Tabak, won the third game in the Top 16.
Both sides have four wins and three defeats in the Top 16.
"We visit a very complicated court and a great team that has improved throughout the season," Tabak said.
"Olympiacos is our direct opponent in this group. We must play a solid game, we cannot have ups and downs. If we are trailing, we cannot give up; we must keep fighting."
One of the international players whose performances have improved under Tabak is Maciej Lampe of Poland.
Lampe set his Euroleague career-high in points with 25 against Olympiacos in the first Top 16 meeting.
He has been on a roll, scoring in double figures in five straight and nine of his last 10 Euroleague games.
Other internationals on the books of Caja Laboral with a chance of featuring at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup include Andres Nocioni (Argentina), Tibor Pleiss (Germany), Nemanja Bjelica (Serbia), Fabien Causeur and Thomas Huertel (both France), Milko Bjelica and Omar Cook (both Montenegro) and Fernando San Emeterio (Spain).
"If we win the game against Olympiacos,” San Emeterio said, “we will be in a good position in the Top 16. If we lose it, it won't be definitive, but our path will be a bit more complicated."
For Olympiacos, there are Greece's Vassilis Spanoulis, Dimitrios Mavroeidis, Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou, Kostas Sloukas, Georgia's Giorgi Shermadini, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's Pero Antic and Lithuania's Martynas Gecevicius.