Hap J’lem takes perfect record on the road

Reds visit Czech champion Nymburk while Gilboa/Galil hosts Azovmash at Malha.

November 30, 2010 06:59
3 minute read.
HAPOEL GILBOA/GALIL center Ido Kuzikaro

HAPOEL GILBOA/GALIL center Ido Kuzikaro 311. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)


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Hapoel Jerusalem can take a massive step towards securing a place in the Eurocup Last 16 when it faces CEZ Nymburk in the Czech Republic on Tuesday night.

Oded Katash’s team claimed its biggest win of the season to date last week, stunning Cajasol Sevilla 76-72 in Spain, behind an inspired 26-point performance by Will Solomon.

A victory against Nymburk will see Hapoel improve to 3-0 midway through its Group G campaign, and with home games against the Czech champion and Sevilla still to come, Katash’s men will be in pole position to qualify for the next stage from top position.

Nymburk will know all about Jerusalem, and not just because of the team’s surprise win in Spain last week.

The Czechs are coached by a couple of Israelis, Ronen Ginzburg and his assistant Oren Amiel, with Nymbruk’s roster including Israeli guard Afik Nissim and former Hapoel and Maccabi Tel Aviv swingman Tre Simmons.

“Nymbruk is a semi-Israeli team,” Katash said. “You could say Simmons is half-Israeli and they also have Afik Nissim and Israeli coaches. However, we are putting all of this aside because this is a very important game for us which could go a long way to determining the outcome of the group.

“We have a few injuries, including Solomon, who is doubtful, but we will try and build on our recent momentum.”

Besides winning both of its Eurocup games to date, Hapoel has also claimed four straight BSL contests, beating Maccabi Rishon Lezion on Saturday.

Nymburk has dominated Czech basketball in recent years, winning seven straight championships, and has split its two Eurocup games so far, losing at home to Sevilla while beating VEF Riga on the road last week, thanks to 16 points from Simmons and 15 from Nissim.

“We are facing a tough team which won last week, but we need to maintain our recent form,” Solomon said. “We’re feeling good and we want to win.”

Meanwhile, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil will look to rebound from last week’s disappointing home loss to Aris Thessaloniki when it hosts five-time defending Ukrainian champion BC Azovmash.

Gilboa claimed an encouraging win at Cedevita Zagreb in its regular season opener, but despite leading in the fourth period against Aris, could not clinch the win and fell to a 1-1 record.

Despite renovating the arena in Gan Ner, Gilboa will host its second straight Eurocup game at Malha after ULEB representatives refused to approve the court up North.

“We are trying to think as little as possible about the fact that we will not play the game at our home arena,” Gilboa coach Lior Lubin said. “Azovmash is a strong team with six Americans and we can’t take them lightly even though they have lost both games so far.”

Also Tuesday, Barak Netanya and Maccabi Haifa will look to put their BSL struggles aside when they continue their EuroChallenge campaigns.

Netanya hosts Turk Telecom, hoping to claim a second straight continental win after last week’s victory over the Norrkoping Dolphins, while Maccabi Haifa welcomes BT Ventspils of Latvia at Nesher.

In BSL action on Monday, Hapoel Holon claimed its second win of the season, defeating fellow struggler Ironi Ashkelon 84-80.

Robert Hite and Kasib Powell had 17 points for Holon, with Rashon Turner scoring 21 points for Ashkelon, which is now tied for last place with Holon, Netanya and Haifa with a 2-5 record.

In other basketball news, Maccabi Tel Aviv swingman Chuck Eidson was named the Euroleague’s MVP for November.

Eidson helped make Maccabi the only team to survive the first full month of the season undefeated, scoring the second- most points (51) for Tel Aviv, while leading the team in assists (16), steals (12) and three-pointers made (7).

On TV: Hapoel Gilboa/Galil vs BC Azovmash (live on Channel 1 at 7 p.m.); Cez Nymburk vs Hapoel Jerusalem (live on Channel 33 at 7 p.m.)

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