Cup action Mac TA’s focus this week

After its impressive regular-season run, Maccabi will be confident of reaching the quarterfinals by finishing in the top-4 of Top 16 Group F.

December 22, 2013 02:44
2 minute read.
Maccabi's Sofoklis Schortsanitis (R) and Yogev Ohayon (L)

Maccabi's Sofoklis Schortsanitis (R) and Yogev Ohayon (L) 37. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

With its Euroleague Top 16 group being officially set over the weekend, Maccabi Tel Aviv will be looking to turn its focus back to local affairs this week, starting with Sunday’s State Cup last 16 encounter against Maccabi Ashdod at Nokia Arena.

Maccabi ended Euroleague regular season Group D in first place with an 8-2 record thanks to Thursday’s easier-than-expected 68-55 victory over Panathinaikos in Athens.

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After its impressive regular-season run, Maccabi will be confident of reaching the quarterfinals by finishing in the top-four of Top 16 Group F. Real Madrid, which was one of just two teams to go 10-0 in the regular season, and CSKA Moscow, that ended Group A in second place at 7-3, are expected to be Maccabi’s main rivals for a top two finish, which would also give it homecourt advantage in the last eight.

However, with four teams to progress to the quarterfinals, Maccabi will be optimistic of its chances of at least finishing in third or fourth place, with Lokomotiv Kuban (6-4), Galatasaray (6-4), Zalgiris Kaunas (5-5), Bayern Munich (4-6) and Partizan Belgrade (3-7) the yellow-andblue’s remaining opponents in Group F.

Maccabi will begin the Top 16 at Galatasaray in Turkey next Thursday or Friday and will play its 14th and final group game against CSKA Moscow at Nokia Arena on April 10.

In the meantime, Tel Aviv will look to carry its recent momentum into the State Cup, with Maccabi a firm favorite to beat the struggling Ashdod on Sunday and secure its progress to Thursday’s quarterfinals.

There will be two more all-BSL showdowns on Sunday, with Bnei Herzliya hosting Hapoel Holon and Ironi Ness Ziona welcoming Hapoel Tel Aviv.

After taking sole possession of first place in the BSL with Friday’s 82-75 win at Maccabi Haifa, Hapoel Jerusalem will hope to recover in time for its visit of Hapoel Galil Elyon of the second division on Sunday.

Jerusalem improved to an 8-3 record with its eighth win in nine league games, with Yotam Halperin scoring 16 points and Lior Eliyahu, Derwin Kitchen and Ronald Dupree adding 14 points each.

Donta Smith had 24 points for Haifa, which has lost four of five BSL games.

Also Sunday: Elitzur Ramle vs. Hapoel Gilboa/Galil, Hapoel Afula vs. Maccabi Rishon Lezion and Maccabi Be’er Ya’akov vs.

Ramat Hasharon, Hapoel Eilat hosts Maccabi Haifa on Monday.

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