After the expulsion from the Euroleague, Maccabi Tel Aviv managed to recover quickly and today (Sunday) already approached the game for the first place against the city rival Hapoel. The yellows managed to beat the team from third place 82:89 and secured the first place in the league in addition to being at home throughout the playoff stages. In addition, Dani Franco, who dropped with his team to third place in the table, also commented after the game.
the coach of the yellows, Oded Ketch He said at the end: “You could see at the beginning of the game that we arrived a little tired, it showed in the way we didn’t save, the first quarter was without defenses, it took us a while to get in. In the first quarter, both Josh was injured and Wade was on half a leg. It hurt our plans, Roman did the step up and was tremendous for us, in the end what won us the game was the rebound, we won 3:18, 25:40 in total. That’s what made the difference in the end, the playoffs are starting and it’s not going to be easy, there is a high level in our league, those who love Israeli basketball should be excited, there are going to be interesting games.
About the injuries of Josh Niebo and Wade Baldwin, the coach of the yellows said: “Let’s hope that Wade’s injury is not too serious, but tomorrow after an MRI we will be wiser, regarding Josh it is a big loss if we lose him, but it only shows how important he was that the team did an amazing job to get Alex back on track.”
“We are favorites, but it doesn’t always do us good,” Ketch said regarding facing Hapoel BS in the playoffs: “We will have to come very focused and not feel that it is going to be easy, neither in the semis nor in the finals. As far as I’m concerned, BS has the best coach in the league, but I’m biased. We will not have a second chance.”
also Roman Sorkin, who finished as the outstanding player of the game with a great statistical line of 22 points and 10 rebounds, spoke at the end about the game: “I’m happy that personally I scored and played well today, but I’m very happy that we won. It’s natural to have some kind of tension drop from the playoffs because we felt we could go up another level, but I’m satisfied that we won today, it was an important game for us even though the season is still long.”
On the other hand, the losing coach Danny Franco He spoke about the great season his team has had so far: “We are ending a regular season, one of the best our basketball has ever known with a lot of interest and tension. We are going to the playoffs which will surely be interesting and very high quality. We came here today to do something that hasn’t happened to Hapoel Tel Aviv in decades and compete against Maccabi for first place in the league. The fact that we reached this situation accompanies the good season we had, but we were not as successful as many Euroleague teams that Maccabi beat at home this season.”
“We know ourselves well enough this season, we led the Eurocup in assists per game and even today we did it with 26 assists which is excellent”, the coach analyzed the game and continued: “We kept the ball well, but the game rose and fell on the fact that they threw 18 times more than us , you can’t win like that and it’s something that has nothing to do with preparation but with the basics, we fell into it in a way I don’t remember recently. There was an amazing atmosphere and I take my hat off to the audience that made us feel at home.”
The coach continued regarding the participation of the Israelis in the two teams: “I don’t think it is necessary to divide the teams into foreigners and Israelis, both we and Maccabi have excellent Israelis. The Israeli players of both teams are at the highest level in Israeli basketball. There will be a big playoff and there are a lot of teams that feel like they can make it. It doesn’t matter who you play against, all the cards are reshuffled, so it matters how we play and not against whom. We want to get past the Miracle of Ziona, from there we will count down and there are seven games to win to take the title, it can be done.”