Holon's Rot begins marking this one down in history

Following Tuesday's victory, Holon's point guard taped teammates, telling them that they must realize how close they are to making history.

Hapoel Holon 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
Hapoel Holon 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
As the media began pouring into Hapoel Holon's locker room after its convincing 100-89 defeat of Ironi Nahariya in the BSL Final Four semis on Tuesday evening, it wasn't only the cameras of the numerous Israeli Web sites and television channels which were focused on the triumphant players. Holon's point guard Moran Rot immediately pulled out a video camera of his own and began going around the room interviewing his teammates. He told them that they must realize how close they are to making history and how they could be invited back to Israel in 20 years time to look back on their great victory in the 2008 season, if they just win one more game. Some of the players, such as star forward PJ Tucker, were only interested in putting on a professional face, insisting that they can not think about making history until Thursday's final has taken place. But there was a twinkle in the eye of more than one Holonite as they looked forward to what will be the biggest game of many of their careers. The story of this team in yellow and purple, cheered on by arguably the most vocal and fanatical group of supporters in the BSL outside of Maccabi Tel Aviv, is an amazing one. Few pundits predicted more than an average season for Holon after it was promoted from the National League at the end of last season. However, Miki Dorsman has led it from the darkness of the firecracker explosion at Malha Arena in November, in which a security guard was injured due to the actions of a Holon fan, into the light of the championship game. Rot, who scored 12 points on Tuesday, has become a cult favorite for the Holon fans over this season. His comments about returning 20 years later were referring to a recent reunion of the Galil Elyon team of '93, which last took the crown away from Tel Aviv, and the 1.82 meter 25-year-old had no qualms explaining why he was taping everything that moved after the game. "I hope I am video-taping history," he told the Jerusalem Post as the other players began getting changed and showered after a tough game. "It's been 15 years since another team apart from Maccabi has taken the title so we are dreaming. We play for each other and we need to be focused for one more game." Holon may not have had an impact on Israeli hoops in recent years, but it has a strong history since its inception in 1947. "Hapoel Holon is a big club. For the last few years it was not, but since Miki came he got it from the bottom bringing it up and brought great players, great human beings and this is the body of this team which we take with a great crowd," Rot said as he looked to the future and the possibility of establishing the team as of European class. Last year it was assumed Hapoel Jerusalem was the only other club big enough to compete internationally and Galil Elyon seemed to prove that by failing in its ULEB Cup campaign this season. However Holon has built a strong basis and could buck the trend. "It is my dream for sure to be in Euroleague or ULEB cup, but it's the first year and I hope next year will be the continuation," Rot concluded.