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Hapoel Holon forward Darion Atkins (dunking) is hoping to help his team snatch the No. 1 seed in the BSL playoffs when the regular season comes to an end tonight. (.(Photo by: DANNY MAARON)
Plenty up for grabs on final night of season
By ALLON SINAI
05/15/2017
Eilat, Holon sill in contention for BSL’s top seed • Haifa, Rishon, Gilboa battling for final two playoff berths.
Apart from the bottom two Maccabi Kiryat Gat and Maccabi Ashdod, the other 10 teams in the BSL enter the final day of the regular season on Monday not knowing in which position they will end the night.

Seven of the eight playoff berths have already been secured, but seeding is still to be determined, with the eighth and final ticket for the post-season also up for grabs.

Three teams are battling for eighth place, currently held by Maccabi Haifa with a 15-17 record. All Haifa needs in order to book its spot in the quarterfinals is to beat Hapoel Tel Aviv at Romema Arena.

Haifa could move up to seventh should Maccabi Rishon Lezion (16-16) also lose to Bnei Herzliya (18-14), while the Greens could fall all the way down to 10th with a defeat to Tel Aviv.

Hapoel Tel Aviv (14-18) has lost six straight games, but remains in contention for a top-eight finish. The Reds do require an unlikely combination of results though in order to move up from 10th to eighth, having to beat Haifa by at least 21 points and for Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (15-17) to lose to Hapoel Holon (21-11).

A win by any margin for Gilboa combined with a Haifa loss will see Gilboa qualify for the playoffs.

The No. 1 seeding will also only be decided on Monday after Hapoel Eilat suffered a shock defeat to Kiryat Gat last Thursday. Eilat (21-11), which had won 15 of its previous 17 games as well as 10 in a row at home, can still clinch first place with a victory at Ironi Nahariya (17-15) on Monday.

The only way Eilat will drop to second and be leapfrogged by Holon is if the latter wins and the former loses.

Claiming the top seed has an added significance this season as the season-ending tournament will be played either in Tel Aviv’s Yad Eliyahu Arena or the Jerusalem Arena, with the team to finish the regular season in first place to pick the host venue.

Maccabi Tel Aviv (19-13), Hapoel Jerusalem (18-14) and Herzliya are fighting on Monday for the two remaining places in the top four. A top-four finish ensures homecourt advantage in the bestof- five quarterfinals.

A Maccabi win at Ashdod will wrap up third place for the yellow-and-blue, which may not value home-court advantage as it once did, losing its past five BSL games at Yad Eliyahu following last Thursday’s defeat to Gilboa.

Jerusalem will finish in the top four as long as it beats Kiryat Gat on the road. A win over Kiryat Gat combined with a Maccabi loss will see Jerusalem leapfrog the yellowand- blue and finish in third.

Maccabi and Jerusalem could already meet in the quarterfinals should Tel Aviv lose to Ashdod, Hapoel fall at Kiryat Gat and Herzliya defeat Rishon Lezion.

Such a scenario would move Herzliya up to third place.
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