First-place Jerusalem still intent on staying in Eurocup

April 26, 2016 01:44
2 minute read.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion

Maccabi Rishon Lezion forward Darryl Monroe (right) embraces teammate Mark Lyons during last night’s 95-82 win in Herzliya, with the two combining for 35 points.. (photo credit: MACCABI RISHON LEZION)

Hapoel Jerusalem may be busy trying to defend its BSL title, but the club’s management is already well into its planning for next season, most notably the European competition in which the team will play in 2016/17.

After much deliberation, Hapoel decided two weeks ago to sign a three-year deal to play in the Eurocup, ultimately choosing against joining FIBA’s new Champions League.

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Hapoel was seriously considering leaving the Eurocup after seven seasons and playing in the inaugural campaign of the Champions League.

However, after additional details regarding the new competition were revealed – and following negotiations with the Euroleague, which also runs the Eurocup – Hapoel opted to stay put.

With the war between FIBA and the Euroleague continuing to escalate, the Israel Basketball Association sent a letter to Jerusalem last week reminding it of the IBA’s responsibilities towards FIBA.

The IBA was among 14 national associations sent a letter by European basketball’s governing body several days earlier in which FIBA Europe warned the countries about their association with the Euroleague.

The letter included a threat that any federation that backed the Euroleague would automatically lose the right to participate in senior men’s national team competitions, including the Olympic Games.

Nevertheless, Jerusalem has every intention of standing by its new agreement to play in the Eurocup, hoping that the crisis will be resolved.

Jerusalem needs only one more win to clinch the No. 1 seed in the BSL playoffs after registering its eighth consecutive victory with a dominant performance against Hapoel Eilat at the Jerusalem Arena on Sunday night. Hapoel can secure the top seed as early as Tuesday should Maccabi Tel Aviv (20-9) lose to Maccabi Kiryat Gat (10-19), with Jerusalem holding the tiebreaker against Tel Aviv, sweeping the yellow-and-blue 3-0 in the regular season.

While the BSL title will be decided in a Final Four tournament this season, there is still some importance to claiming the top seed, with the team that finishes the regular season in first place to host the season finale.

In BSL action on Monday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion (14-16) claimed its first win under new coach Arik Shivek, beating Bnei Herzliya 95-82.

Also Monday, Hapoel Holon boosted its survival hopes with a 98-80 win over Maccabi Ashdod.

Will Clyburn finished with 31 points and nine rebounds for Holon, with Isaiah Swann scoring 24 points for Ashdod.

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