Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Gal Mekel.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Local fans will finally have an opportunity to watch the new-look Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem first hand on Tuesday night when the two powerhouses of Israeli basketball take part in the preseason Winner Cup quarterfinals at Ein Sara Arena in Nahariya.
Maccabi faces Bnei Herzliya before Jerusalem plays Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Maccabi has gone 3-2 in preseason action, but two of its wins came against Euroleague opponents Barcelona and Panathinaikos, while two of the defeats were to reigning continental champion CSKA Moscow.
The yellow-and-blue has shown some promising signs following its summer overhaul, but coach Erez Edelstein is still targeting a significant improvement over the coming week.
“We still have a lot to work on and our current level is just not good enough to beat CSKA,” said Edelstein. “I’m very excited to be coaching in Israel again. It is always fun to come to a place like Nahariya.”
Jerusalem has looked far less impressive than its arch-rival, going 4-4 in preseason play after losing both of its games at the Crete Heraklion tournament this past weekend.
Fans hoping to see Amar’e Stoudemire live in action will have to wait a little longer as he will sit out Tuesday’s game.
Reigning BSL champion Maccabi Rishon Lezion awaits the winner of the game between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv after defeating Maccabi Haifa 79-68 at Ein Sara on Monday.
A 12-0 run to end the third quarter opened a 14-point gap Rishon had little trouble maintaining in the final 10 minutes.
Javon McCrea had 13 points for Rishon, with Nitzan Hanochi adding 12.
Amit Simhon and Evan Ravenel scored 15 points each for Haifa.
Ironi Nahariya will face the winner of the game between Maccabi and Herzliya in Thursday’s semis after defeating Hapoel Eilat 69-50 on Monday.
Nick Faust netted 17 points for the winners, while Landon Milbourne had 17 for Eilat.