Hapoel Jerusalem forward Lior Eliyahu.
(photo credit: LIRON MOLDOVAN/BSL)
Hapoel Jerusalem joined Maccabi Tel Aviv in the BSL semifinals on Monday night, completing a 3-0 sweep of Hapoel Tel Aviv with a 77-73 overtime win at the Jerusalem Arena.
Jerusalem, the No. 2 seed, registered its 18th win from the past 20 games overall and came through the series with unexpected ease.
Despite being the No. 7 seed, Tel Aviv believed it could give Jerusalem a real run for its money and even win the series. However, its season ended in frustration on Monday after letting another tight game slip away.
Lior Eliyahu led the victors with 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Yancy Gates finished with 26 points for Tel Aviv.
Jerusalem will next play the winner of the series between Hapoel Holon (3) and Maccabi Rishon Lezion (6). Rishon leads the series 2-1 after Holon claimed an 83-64 victory in Game 3 on Monday.
Dominic McGuire had 22 points and 10 boards for Holon, which led by just a single point (57-56) entering the fourth quarter, but outscored Rishon 26-8 in the final 10 minutes.
Shawn Dowson scored 17 points for Rishon, which hosts Game 4 on Thursday.
Also Monday, Hapoel Eilat went up 2-1 in its series with Maccabi Haifa with a 85-79 home win.
Maccabi Tel Aviv, meanwhile, awaits the winner of the series between No. 4 Eilat and No. 5 Haifa after finishing a 3-0 sweep of Ironi Ness Ziona on Sunday.
Maccabi’s semifinal series will not begin until next Thursday, allowing the likes of Yogev Ohayon and Alex Tyus to rest their aching bodies, but also disrupting the team’s rhythm.
American guard Jeremy Pargo voiced his frustration on Twitter, writing: “Great win @MaccabiElectra now let’s wait 12 pointless days til the next game!” In other news, 40-year-old Ness Ziona guard Meir Tapiro said he will be back for another season after the loss to Maccabi.
Tapiro, who made his debut with Hapoel Tel Aviv in the 1994/95 season, set a new appearance record for a player in the top flight of Israeli basketball earlier in the campaign. He registered his 470th appearance to break the record previously held by Mickey Berkowitz.