Anyone involved with Maccabi Tel Aviv breathed a huge sigh of relief on Thursday night after the team moved to the brink of qualification to the Euroleague's Top 16. The 86-72 victory at Air Avellino in Italy all but clinched the team's progression in European basketball's premier competition and gave Pini Gershon the peace and quiet he needed to reshape the side ahead of the decisive stages of the season. Maccabi, which visits Le Mans on Thursday in its final game before a three-week winter break, never really hit top gear against Avellino, but still cruised to its first road victory of the Euroleague season. Marcus Brown led Maccabi with 26 points and made up for Carlos Arroyo's worst game as a Tel Aviv player. The Puerto Rican scored two points, hitting just one of his attempted 11 field-goals. Lior Eliyahu and D'or Fischer maintained their excellent form, with the Israeli international scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds and the center adding 17 points and 10 rebounds. "This is an important victory which gives us an advantage," Gershon said. "We could have played better, but when taking into account the fact that some players didn't perform as well as we expected, than this is a nice victory." Yaniv Green, who had his best game of the season, scoring 14 points and pulling seven rebounds, was also pleased with the win. "I'm in good form and I'm getting my chances," the center said. "I'm happy I can contribute to the team. I learned a lot from my time playing in Russia. I've been waiting for my chance and I'm happy I made the most of it." On Sunday, Maccabi visits Bnei Hasharon in the BSL. In the two league games since Gershon took charge, Tel Aviv has been in rampant form, winning by an average 31.5 points. Last season, Maccabi lost three times to Effi Birenboim's Bnei Hasharon, which is entering Sunday's game on the back of two consecutive defeats. Bnei Hasharon lost for the first time in the BSL under coach Ariel Beit-Halachmi last week and also fell to a third straight Eurocup defeat in the midweek. Also Sunday, Maccabi Haifa visits Maccabi Givat Shmuel, Ironi Ashkelon hosts Ironi Ramat Gan and Hapoel Holon goes to Ironi Kiryat Ata. On Monday, Ironi Nahariya hosts Hapoel Galil Elyon/Gilboa in the northern derby.