Maccabi looks to recover from cup catastrophe

Tel Aviv blamed the officials for its painful loss on Thursday.

Mac TA 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Mac TA 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv will look to rebound from its stunning defeat to Hapoel Jerusalem in the State Cup final, when it hosts Ironi Ramat Gan in the BSL on Sunday night. Maccabi led by as many as 22 points in the third quarter of Thursday's final, but was outscored 38-16 in the fourth period in one of the most remarkable comebacks in Israeli basketball history. The perennial champion had won all of its 10 games under coach Tzvika Sherf prior to Thursday and will look to return to winning ways on Sunday against a Ramat Gan side which has won four of its last five BSL games. Tel Aviv blamed the officials for its painful loss on Thursday and didn't stay on court to see Hapoel lift the cup, leaving for the dressing rooms midway through the award ceremony. Maccabi, which could be punished for its unsportsmanlike behavior, apologized for its actions on Friday. "Maccabi Tel Aviv would like to apologize to President Shimon Peres, the fans at the arena and Hapoel Jerusalem for leaving after receiving the medals and not waiting until the end of the ceremony," the statement read. Jerusalem, which visits Hapoel Holon on Monday in the BSL, celebrated its unlikely triumph at Safra Square until the early hours of Friday morning. "I and everybody else here will remember this for our entire lives," Hapoel coach Dan Shamir said. Also Sunday, Bnei Hasharon hosts Hapoel Afula/Gilboa and Ironi Nahariya visits Ironi Ashkelon. On Monday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion hosts Hapoel Galil Elyon.