Local Hoops: Holon, Galil/Gilboa still fighting for trip to Final Four

Galil is confident of winning away from home and extending its season by another week.

Hapoel Holon 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
Hapoel Holon 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
The fourth and final berth to next week's BSL Final Four will be up for grabs in Holon on Thursday night. Hapoel Holon hosts Hapoel Galil/Gilboa in a decisive Game 5 from which the winner will advance to face Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Final Four semifinals next Tuesday. Hapoel Jerusalem will face Maccabi Haifa in the other one-game-take-all semi at the Nokia Arena on Tuesday. Galil thrashed Holon 77-55 in Game 4 on Sunday in what was the first blowout of the series. The first three games of the series were decided by a combined 10 points, with both games in Holon especially tight. Galil claimed Game 1 of the series on the road 81-74, thanks to a late comeback, with Holon winning Game 3, 79-78 after overtime, largely due to its accurate free-throw shooting in the final minute of the encounter. Despite the fact it will need to cope with Holon's fervent home-crowd support in Game 5, Galil is confident of winning away from home and extending its season by another week. Not only did Oded Katash's men win in Game 1 and push the hosts all the way down to the wire in Game 3 on the road, but Galil also triumphed in Holon in the regular season and will not have any qualms about its ability to win the quarterfinals series decider as well. "We finally showed we can play at the same level for 40 minutes," Katash said after his team's big win in Game 4. "This is the first time we've decided a game with our defense and that gives us a lot of confidence. With a little more experience we could have already won the series, but I'm happy we've reached Game 5. The arena in Holon will be a perfect setting for such a game and I hope we can win and advance to the Final Four." Holon, which is of course the defending league champion and reigning cup holder, is hoping to win and set up a repeat of last year's Final Four final against Tel Aviv. "We wanted to close out the series in Game 4, but Galil wanted the win more than we did and they deserve credit for that," Holon coach Danny Franco said. "Game 5 will be our real test of the season," guard Lior Segev said "We need to show our character and win the final game of the series."