Maccabi Tel Aviv brass still debating coaching direction

The yellow-and-blue lost its eighth game in a row over all competitions and Maccabi approached several candidates with the intention of replacing Bagatskis.

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April 23, 2017 04:10
1 minute read.
maccabi coach

Ainars Bagatskis remains the coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, with the club’s ownership failing to reach an agreement regarding his replacement. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Ainars Bagatskis is still the head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, surviving the weekend due to differences in the club’s ownership following another embarrassing defeat on Thursday night.

Maccabi’s management seemed set to sack the Latvian after the humbling 79-63 loss to Maccabi Haifa, a club record fifth consecutive league defeat. The yellow-and-blue lost its eighth game in a row over all competitions and Maccabi approached several candidates with the intention of replacing Bagatskis.

Arik Shivek, Sharon Drucker and Tzvika Sherf were all contacted, with Shivek being the favorite as he didn’t demand a guaranteed contract as head coach for next season.

However, differences in the club’s ownership resulted in a stalemate and Bagatskis guided the team in training on Saturday despite knowing that his sacking is likely imminent.

Maccabi’s next game is against Maccabi Kiryat Gat on Wednesday night.

Maccabi Rishon Lezion took an important step towards playoff qualification on Saturday, improving to 14-14 with its third straight win, 98-89 at Hapoel Tel Aviv. Charles Thomas led six Rishon players in double figures with 19 points. Mark Lyons and Branden Dawson scored 20 points each for Hapoel, which fell to 13-15 and dropped out of the top eight.

Ironi Nahariya moved into the playoff positions, improving to 14-14 with an 89-83 victory at Hapoel Gilboa/Galil on Saturday. Scottie Hopson had 23 points for Nahariya, with Michael Qualls scoring 26 for Gilboa, which fell to 12-16.

Maccabi Ashdod maintained an outside chance of reaching the playoffs on Friday, registering a third straight win by beating Maccabi Kiryat Gat 85-70.

Ashdod improved to 12-16 with its third consecutive victory, equaling its longest streak of the season. Jackie Carmichael led five Ashdod players in double figures with 18 points. Justin Carter scored 19 points for Kiryat Gat, which had already been relegated to the National League.

In other news, Maccabi Haifa’s hopes of reaching the Final Four suffered a hefty blow after American forward Will Graves was ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Graves, who is a key part of Haifa’s rotation, averaging 11.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in his third season with the Greens, was diagnosed with a fractured wrist and a concussion after suffering a nasty fall during Thursday’s game against Maccabi Tel Aviv at Yad Eliyahu Arena.


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