Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Hapoel Gilboa/Galil in BSL action on Sunday night in a game it could do without following its 40th State Cup triumph three days ago and ahead of Thursday’s crucial Euroleague showdown against Barcelona.

Maccabi had to dig deep to claim a 76-68 win over Maccabi Haifa at Nokia Arena last Thursday, trailing by four points with 6:40 left to play before clinching the victory with a 14-2 run.

After lifting its fourth straight cup with three wins over five days last week, the yellow-and-blue hosts Barcelona on Thursday in a showdown it essentially has to win to keep alive its lingering hopes of advancing to the Euroleague quarterfinals.

However, while it has already turned much of its focus to Barca, Maccabi will want to ensure it doesn’t enter Thursday’s game following an unexpected loss against Gilboa.

Maccabi takes a 12-game BSL winning streak into Sunday’s game in Gan Ner, while Gilboa fell to a defeat at Hapoel Eilat in its most recent contest two weeks ago following two straight wins.

“We are having a tough time in the Euroleague and winning the cup was very important to us,” said standin captain Shawn James, who lifted the cup together with injured captain Lior Eliyahu and former disgraced captain Guy Pnini. “We always believe in ourselves and this win gives us confidence. Maccabi has won many titles, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to do. We fight for every title and for every game.”

Haifa will look to rebound from Thursday’s frustrating loss when it hosts Hapoel Tel Aviv on Sunday.

Also Sunday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion welcomes Barak Netanya and Eilat visits Hapoel Holon.

On Monday, Hapoel Jerusalem hosts Bnei Herzliya and Ironi Ashkelon plays Maccabi Ashdod.

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