The debate regarding Maccabi Tel Aviv’s decision to add the Adriatic League to its schedule this season will likely never be resolved.

However, there is little doubt that a failure to lift the Adriatic title at Nokia Arena on Monday night would be a massive disappointment considering the yellow-and-blue’s investment in the competition.

Maccabi easily finished top of the regular season standings, recording a 24-2 record, outscoring its opponents by 15.5 points per game in its victories.

In fact, Tel Aviv only really lost one game in the regular season, with its second defeat coming virtue of a technical loss to Buducnost after it was unable to arrange a date to host the Montenegrins due to its already packed schedule.

Maccabi still finished five games clear of its nearest rivals and will face Buducnost (18-8) in Saturday’s second semifinal at Nokia after Cedevita Zagreb (19-7) and Partizan Belgrade (19-7) play for a place in the final earlier in the evening.

Tel Aviv defeated Buducnost 81-69 on the road when the teams met in late October and has bounced back from its Euroleague exit at the hands of Panathinaikos earlier this month with five straight BSL wins.

“The game against Hapoel Jerusalem was a good preparation for the Adriatic League Final Four and it has given us momentum,” said Maccabi guard Keith Langford after his team’s 89-80 victory at Malha Arena on Sunday.

“We are now ready to jump into the deep end and we want to finish the season the best way possible.

“We need to approach the game against Buducnost the way we did all our 80 games this season. We need to play with high intensity and make sure we are ready because we know they will be prepared.

“We aren’t under pressure, especially as we have home-court advantage.”

In other basketball news, Maccabi Haifa announced on Thursday that it has hired former Syracuse University associate head coach Bernie Fine as a basketball consultant.

Fine, who will be based in the United States and will consult with the club on player personnel decisions as well as the team’s coaching search, was fired from Syracuse last November after 36 straight seasons as assistant amid allegations that he sexually molested two former ball boys.

A federal investigation is ongoing, with Fine denying any wrongdoing.

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