Maccabi Rishon's Amit Ben-David 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Barak Netanya will look to become just the second team in Israeli basketball
history to come back from 0-2 down in a best-of-five series when it hosts Hapoel
Jerusalem in a decisive Game 5 in the BSL quarterfinals on Thursday
Since the playoff format was introduced in the 1989/90 season,
only last season’s Maccabi Rishon Lezion side has managed to recover from a
two-game deficit, beating Ironi Ashkelon 3-2 in the quarterfinals.
10 of the 76 best-of-five series’ played over the past 23 years came down to a
fifth game, with the home team winning in nine of the 10 deciders, an
encouraging stat for both Netanya and Hapoel Eilat, which hosts Rishon Lezion in
another Game 5 on Thursday.
Jerusalem initially outplayed Netanya to open
a 2-0 cushion, but was trounced 92-69 in Game 3 and squandered a seven-point
margin with less than three minutes to play at Malha Arena on Monday to allow
Netanya to force a Game 5.
“Game 5 will be all about which team is more
mentally ready,” said Jerusalem coach Sharon Drucker.
“We led 2-0 and now
it is 2-2 after a cruel defeat in Game 4. We have reached a crossroads and if we
manage to overcome it we will know we have what it takes to go all the
Netanya has been this season’s dark horse ever since it
unexpectedly won its first five games of the campaign.
season would become truly unforgettable should it complete the upset against
“We haven’t achieved anything yet,” said Netanya coach Danny
Franco. “We have built a wonderful team in Netanya and we want to take one more
step. We are returning to our home arena on Thursday, but matters aren’t about
to get any easier.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv awaits the winner of Thursday’s game
between Jerusalem and Netanya after completing a 3-0 sweep of Hapoel Tel Aviv
Game 1 of the semis will be played at Nokia Arena on
The quarterfinal series between Eilat and Rishon has gone back
and forth since the latter won Game 1 on the road.
bounced back with a win in Rishon and each team triumphed in their subsequent
home encounters to set-up a Game 5.
The winner of Thursday’s showdown
between Eilat and Rishon will play Maccabi Haifa in a semis series which will
begin at Romema Arena on Sunday.
Haifa swept Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 3-0 last