Hapoel Jerusalem forward Tony Gaffney (left) and guard Yotam Halperin (right).
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
After much deliberation, Hapoel Jerusalem has decided to sign a three-year deal to play in the Eurocup, ultimately choosing against joining FIBA’s new Champions League.
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 has opted to stay put.
The Eurocup will include only 24 teams next season, with the Euroleague being trimmed down to 16 teams. The four Eurocup semifinalists are set to earn promotion to the Euroleague for 2017/18, another incentive for Jerusalem.
For next season, the Adriatic League, German League, Spanish League and the VTB United League (the Russian league together with selected teams from Eastern Europe and Northern Europe) will each receive one direct B Licence access to the Euroleague and will join the 11 A Licence clubs (Anadolu Efes Istanbul, CSKA Moscow, Olimpia Milano, FC Barcelona, Fenerbahce Istanbul, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Olympiacos Piraeus, Panathinaikos Athens, Real Madrid and Zalgiris Kaunas), as well as the Eurocup champion.
While FIBA always had little hope of attracting the top Euroleague sides to its new competition, it did aim to bring aboard many of the teams disappointed to have been left out of the Euroleague, like Jerusalem.
However, it seems set to be in the shadow of not only the Euroleague next season, but the Eurocup as well, a risk Hapoel had no intention of taking.
Meanwhile, Hapoel Eilat moved tied with Bnei Herzliya and Ironi Nahariya in fourth place in the BSL standings with a 14-13 record on Monday, defeating Hapoel Tel Aviv 93-75 in Israel’s southernmost city.
Eilat trailed by five points after the first quarter (21-16), but held Hapoel to just nine points in the second period, taking an eightpoint cushion (38-30) into the break. The hosts maintained control throughout the second half, securing their fifth win from the past six games.
LaQuinton Ross led six Eilat players in double figures with 16 points.
Jeff Allen had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Tel Aviv, which fell to 11-16, tied with Maccabi Ashdod for eighth place, which leads to the playoffs, but only two games above Ironi Ness Ziona in last, which will result in relegation to the National League at the end of the season.