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25.06.2016, 09:00◄ last page     

DOMESTIC LEAGUES: Besiktas continue their rule in Turkey, while Filippos ascend to the Greek throne.

National champions of Europe - Men part 5 - South-East

The domestic leagues have come to an end and we now approach the draws of the 2016/17 European season, starting with the qualification draw on 29 June.

In six parts, the spotlight is shone on each of the national champions and their path to glory. The penultimate part consists of teams from Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

Great finish of Filippos

Despite winning both the preliminary and the main round of the Greek league Diomidis Argous were unable to retake the title they last time held in 2014.

Filippos Beroias were trailing by five points after both round robin stages and also lost the first game of the final series played in the best-of-three mode, however after two wins in a row (18:17 at home and 26:21 away) they claimed the league gold.

The defending champions PAOK Thesaloniki finished third.

Sixth title for European University Cyprus

Yet again the defending champions cruised to the title unbeaten as the team of European University Cyprus claimed their sixth national title.

Double for perennial champions

After lifting the Turkish Cup for the 11th time in May, Turkish powerhouse won the eighth consecutive championship with same coaches and captain at the beginning of June.

Their opponent was Büyüksehir Belediye Ankaraspor (BSB Ankaraspor) just like last year’s play-off final. In the first leg at Ankara, Besiktas managed to win by four goals after extra time (36:40).

Games at home were much easier for the reigning champions. Rivals played two pleasurable games for handball fans at Istanbul and play-off final series ended 3-0 in favor of black and white.

Last game of the season was very emotional especially for Besiktas fans. Their Serbian gem Darko Djukic, who was voted Best Young Player of the 2015/16 VELUX EHF Champions League left the club to join KS Vive Tauron Kielce.

And the most inspiring player of Turkish champions, Miroslav Kocic said farewell, too. Serbian goalie signed a contract with LNH newcomers Saran HB.

With Besiktas’s last title, Turkish Cup finalist Göztepe qualified to Challenge Cup. Izmir team will take part in a European competition for the first time in club history.

Istanbul team extend the contracts of some players like stalwart Ramazan Döne, line players Tolga Özbahar and Mehmet Demirezen.

Batumi's first triumph

Georgian men's championship took place for the 26th time in history. The most renowned country's team, Georgia Tech University from Tbilisi, as usual were the favourites, but lost to Samtredia in the semifinal and had to come to terms with the third place.

Before the final it was obvious that Georgia would get a new champion. Both Batumi and Samtredia had never won a title before. In the decisive game, Batumi were stronger (27:23) and clinched the title. Samtredia were runners-up, just like in 2015.

FIMA are the best

FIMAYerevan became the champions of Armenia. In the main round, the team representing Yerevan Physical Culture Institute finished first, two points ahead of Vanadzor.

The two best teams faced each other in the superfinal, and FIMA was too strong for Vanadzor — 27:23. The third place went to HBMD that brushed aside Kvant 53:32.

Mahsul are taking over

As the 2015 champion AZAL stopped to exist due to financial problems, most of their players were picked up by Mahsul-Nasimi.

No wonder that this Baku team won the Azerbaijani league this year. In the final match, they managed to beat Tahsil 34:28. Bronze medals were taken by Tahsil-2 who were stronger than Nasimi-2 in the 3rd place game.

Second title for Maccabi Tel Aviv in three years

For the second time in their history as well as in the last three seasons Maccabi Tel Aviv won the Israeli championship after a 3-0 win in the final play off series against Maccabi Rishon Lezion (the third match in the series ended with a draw).

The team from Tel Aviv deserved the title after finishing the regular season in the first place, three points ahead of Maccabi Rishon Lezion who finished as the second best team.

Six matches between these two teams during the regular season and the play off produced for the new championship five wins for Tel Aviv and a draw.

Uncharacteristically this final series was one sided. Maccabi Tel Aviv opened the series with two wins 33:25 and 27:24.

The third match in Tel Aviv ended in a draw 25:25 and in the fourth match at Beit Maccabi, Rishon Lezion arena, the team from Tel Aviv won 33:31.

In five from the last seven seasons the final play off series ended after five matches.

Maccabi Tel Aviv's Serbian goalkeeper, Milan Kosanovic wos voted as the MVP of the final series thanks to 52 saves during the four matches.

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev, Fulya Oktem, Ron Barabasch / br

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