Hapoel Eilat and Hapoel Holon advanced to the semifinals of the Winner Cup on
Sunday night, overcoming erratic performances to gain some much-needed
confidence ahead of the start of the new BSL season next week.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion 79-69 in Rishon, while Holon defeated Hapoel Gilboa/Galil
80-66 in the first game of the day.
Holon awaits the winner of Monday’s
quarterfinal between Hapoel Jerusalem and Barak Netanya, while Eilat will next
play either Maccabi or Hapoel Tel Aviv, which clash in the derby later in the
“We have won this title in recent years and we want to begin our
season in the best way possible,” said Maccabi coach David Blatt. “Facing Hapoel
in our first game makes it all the more exciting.
We are ready and can’t
wait to get started.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv captain Matan Naor insisted
Monday’s game will be more about preparation for the new season than bragging
“This is another step in our preparations and we are focusing on
playing basketball and improving as a team,” said Naor. “Every game gives us an
opportunity to work on our teamwork and I hope we make the most of
Rishon scored nine of the first 11 points of the night on Sunday,
but Eilat came right back. There was very little to separate the teams
throughout the remainder of the first half, with the southerners taking a
three-point cushion (34-31) into the interval.
With coach Roni Bosani
resigning just four days previously, it was of little surprise that Rishon
looked so disjointed.
However, Eilat didn’t pull ahead until late in the
fourth quarter, eventually clinching a victory which brought little joy to coach
“I’m not pleased with how we played,” said Katash. “We are
still searching for our rhythm.
I’m not satisfied and we still have a lot
more work to do.”
Terrence Roderick led Eilat with 28 points, hitting
9-of- 10 field goals. Kevin Palmer added 21 points, with Or Solomon contributing
17 points and eight rebounds for Rishon.
In the first game of the day,
Holon outplayed Gilboa in the second half behind guard Anthony
Sharon Drucker’s Gilboa ended the first period with an 11-2 run to
open a nine-point margin (19-10), but a 13-3 surge by Holon gave it a lead it
maintained until the break (34-31).
Holon never looked back after
starting the second half with a 10-0 run (44-31), giving coach Lior Lubin plenty
of reasons for optimism ahead of the new season while leaving Drucker with much
to mull over.
“We aren’t that concerned about winning the title. The
important thing for us is the progress we make ahead of the season,” said
Goods had 22 points, six assists and five rebounds for Holon, with
Brian Asbury adding 19 points. Adrian Banks led Gilboa with 19 points.
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