Maccabi Rishon Lezion 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Tzvika Sherf will be hoping to make a winning return to the sidelines on
Thursday night when Maccabi Rishon Lezion hosts Hapoel Gilboa/Galil in the State
More than two years after he last guided a team and
five years since he last coached in Israel, the 62-year-old will be back where
he feels most comfortable on Thursday after surprisingly joining Rishon on
Tuesday, becoming the club’s third coach of the season.
“Rishon Lezion is
an important team in Israeli basketball,” said Sherf, who is one of the most
decorated coaches in local hoops history, holding the Maccabi Tel Aviv job on
five separate occasions and guiding the Israel national team for a total of 10
years in three different tenures.
“There is nothing I love more than
coaching and as soon as the opportunity presented itself I took it.”
Bosani left Rishon the week prior to the team’s first BSL game of the season and
his replacement Matah Harush lasted just 11 league games, with the team
currently holding the second-worst record in the league at 3-8.
advanced to the last eight of the cup with a 64-58 victory over Hapoel Afula of
the second division on Sunday, but the team’s erratic performance against a
clearly inferior roster resulted in Harush’s sacking.
“The team’s in a
tough situation and I’m not a magician,” said Sherf. “I’m a man who believes in
hard work and I will try to motivate the players to work hard and get back on
Gilboa/Galil claimed a comfortable 86- 61 win at Elitzur Ramle of
the National League in the last 16 and is currently allowing the least amount of
the points in the league (72.9 ppg), although it is also the BSL’s second-worst
offensive team (71.8 ppg), ahead only of Rishon (71.5 ppg).
One of the
BSL’s in-form teams will miss out on the cup semifinals after Hapoel Tel Aviv
was drawn to host Hapoel Jerusalem at Hadar Yosef on Thursday.
beat Ironi Ness Ziona 82-72 on the road in the last 16 on Sunday and has won
three straight BSL games since losing to Jerusalem at Hadar Yosef last month to
move to a 7-4 record, second only to Jerusalem (8-3). The team from the capital
has won eight of its past nine league games, but had to dig deep to defeat
Hapoel Galil Elyon of the second division 81-76 in the cup on
“Our last game against Hapoel was very aggressive and tense and
I’m convinced that it won’t be any different this time,” said Jerusalem guard
“This is a knockout game and we must remain composed
throughout the 40 minutes and be a lot more aggressive than we were at the start
of the week.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv will be aiming to extend its winning
streak to a season-best seven games on Thursday when it hosts Bnei Herzliya at
After its early season struggles, Maccabi has won its past
five contests in all competitions by an average 13.8 points, including Sunday’s
83-65 triumph over Maccabi Ashdod at Nokia.
Maccabi beat Herzliya by just
three points (78-75) when the teams met in the BSL last month. Herzliya was
extremely fortunate to advance to the quarters, beating Hapoel Holon 79-73 in
overtime after Holon had a winning basket wrongly disallowed at the end of
Also Thursday, Hapoel Eilat visits the National League’s lone
representative in the last eight, Ramat Hasharon.
The semifinals and
final of the cup will take place at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv on February 3 and 6,
Thursday On TV: Hapoel Tel Aviv vs Hapoel (live on Channel 1 at 6:45 p.m.);
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Bnei Herzliya(live on Sport5 at 8:50 p.m.)