Mouthwatering Game 5’s to decide BSL quarters

Barak Netanya to face Hapoel Jerusalem in decisive fifth game, while Hapoel Eilat and Rishon Lezion will fight for semifinal spot.

Maccabi Rishon's Amit Ben-David 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Rishon's Amit Ben-David 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Barak Netanya will look to become just the second team in Israeli basketball history to come back from 0-2 down in a best-of-five series when it hosts Hapoel Jerusalem in a decisive Game 5 in the BSL quarterfinals on Thursday night.
Since the playoff format was introduced in the 1989/90 season, only last season’s Maccabi Rishon Lezion side has managed to recover from a two-game deficit, beating Ironi Ashkelon 3-2 in the quarterfinals.
Only 10 of the 76 best-of-five series’ played over the past 23 years came down to a fifth game, with the home team winning in nine of the 10 deciders, an encouraging stat for both Netanya and Hapoel Eilat, which hosts Rishon Lezion in another Game 5 on Thursday.
Jerusalem initially outplayed Netanya to open a 2-0 cushion, but was trounced 92-69 in Game 3 and squandered a seven-point margin with less than three minutes to play at Malha Arena on Monday to allow Netanya to force a Game 5.
“Game 5 will be all about which team is more mentally ready,” said Jerusalem coach Sharon Drucker.
“We led 2-0 and now it is 2-2 after a cruel defeat in Game 4. We have reached a crossroads and if we manage to overcome it we will know we have what it takes to go all the way.”
Netanya has been this season’s dark horse ever since it unexpectedly won its first five games of the campaign.
However, its season would become truly unforgettable should it complete the upset against Jerusalem.
“We haven’t achieved anything yet,” said Netanya coach Danny Franco. “We have built a wonderful team in Netanya and we want to take one more step. We are returning to our home arena on Thursday, but matters aren’t about to get any easier.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv awaits the winner of Thursday’s game between Jerusalem and Netanya after completing a 3-0 sweep of Hapoel Tel Aviv last week.
Game 1 of the semis will be played at Nokia Arena on Monday.
The quarterfinal series between Eilat and Rishon has gone back and forth since the latter won Game 1 on the road.
Eilat immediately bounced back with a win in Rishon and each team triumphed in their subsequent home encounters to set-up a Game 5.
The winner of Thursday’s showdown between Eilat and Rishon will play Maccabi Haifa in a semis series which will begin at Romema Arena on Sunday.
Haifa swept Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 3-0 last week