FC Barcelona's reign as Euroleague champions has come to an end after they were ousted from this season's play-offs by Panathinaikos, who joined Siena and Maccabi Tel Aviv in next month's Final Four.

And the 3-1 series defeat in the quarter-finals – confirmed with a 78-67 loss in Athens on Thursday night – was a bitter blow for Xavi Pascual's men who miss out on the chance to defend their title when their home city hosts the conclusion of the competition on May 6-8.

"When Panathinaikos beat us at home, we didn't believe in coming back and this cost us a lot," said Pascual. "We needed big heart and faith to do it, but we missed that. Ian Vougioukas was very decisive tonight and made the difference. We will not defend our title at home and this hurts, since we were dreaming about this.”

In front of 19,000 fans at OAKA, Panathinaikos reached the Final Four for the 10th time in club history. Nick Calathes led the winners with 12 points.

They will face Montepaschi Siena in the semi-finals after they stunned big-spending Olympiakos. Former NBA player Malik Hairston hit 25 points in a 88-76 win which wrapped a a 3-1 win series clincher for the Italian side.

"It's really incredible to have reached the Final Four,” Hairston said. “We are on cloud nine. I feel great, we had to believe after the first defeat. I think it's wonderful to be able to reach the Final Four in Barcelona.

“This is my first season in Europe and we were able to achieve this great goal. We have a great team and we all worked hard to achieve this goal. The key to this game was playing the best defence and getting rebounds. Now we face Panathinaikos, I know that this is a very strong team and in the coming days I will learn more about their roster."

Maccabi Tel Aviv claimed a 3-1 victory over Spanish champions Caja Laboral Baskonia with a 99-77 win at the Nokia Arena, completing their comeback from losing the opening tie of the series and the loss of guard Doron Perkins.

Jeremy Pargo scored 10 in a 21-2 third-quarter run that saw Maccabi take total control.

“I can't promise anything, but we'll do everything to win the title,” said Pargo. “We didn't want to go back to Spain, and we reached that. It's not my team. It's Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv. It will be very difficult without Doron, but we have players to step up and fill his shoes."

The only quarter-final to go the full five games will see Real Madrid host Valencia next week for the right to take on Maccabi.

Valencia won 81-72 on their home floor to level at 2-2 and force a decider.



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