Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Haifa may have already secured their progress to
the Last 32 of the Eurocup, but they will still be desperate to end the regular
season on a winning note and advance as No. 2 seeds on Wednesday
Jerusalem’s 77-69 win at CSU Ploiesti of Romania last week saw it
improve to a 5-4 record and secure a berth in the second group
However, Brad Greenberg’s team’s final position in Group E will be
decided in Wednesday’s encounter versus Karsiyaka Izmir (5-4) at Malha Arena,
with the winner to qualify for the Last 32 from the runners-up position behind
Karsiyaka edged Jerusalem 81-80 in Turkey last month, but
has lost three of four Eurocup games since, winning so far just one of its four
contests on the road.
Haifa (6-3) hosts Kalev Tallinn (2-7) at Romema
Arena on Wednesday, confident of claiming the win it requires despite its recent
struggles and injury problems.
Haifa, which will be without Moran Roth
and Brian Randle on Wednesday, suffered a 95-76 defeat at Banvit Bandirma of
Turkey last week and has also lost three of its last four BSL contests. Haifa
will end Group G in second place behind Unics Kazan should it win, or even with
a defeat should Banvit lose to VEF Riga.
Jerusalem and Haifa were
scheduled to meet in the BSL on Sunday, but the showdown was postponed to Friday
due to the stormy weather, gifting both teams a full week to train and rest
ahead of Wednesday’s games.
“We are proud to be a part of the Eurocup
family for the first time, and excited to be a part of the second round,” said
Haifa coach Danny Franco.
“As we fight injuries, we are looking forward
to the last game of the first stage and the challenges that lie ahead in the
near future.” Haifa beat Tallinn 68-64 when the teams met last month, with the
Estonians winning just their second group game last week, beating MZT Skopje
“We expect a really intense game, since the last time we faced
Tallinn they were really aggressive and it came down to the last minute,” said
Haifa guard David Cubillan.
In other basketball news, Maccabi Ashdod
sacked coach Nati Cohen on Tuesday, signing Eric Alfasi as his
Ashdod (2-9) is currently bottom of the BSL standings after
losing nine of its past 10 games.
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