Yellow-and-blue makes 12 straight in BSL

Mac TA wards off Hap Holon at Nokia; resurgent Hap J’lem conquers Ashkelon at Malha.

David Blu 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
David Blu 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv held off a brave Hapoel Holon effort on Monday night to claim its 12th straight BSL victory, while Hapoel Jerusalem continued its recent revival with a win over Ironi Ashkelon.
Holon led by 13 points (45-32) at the break at Nokia Arena and after being outscored 30-11 in the third period, came back to regain the lead midway through the final frame.
However, with just a seven-player rotation at its disposal, Holon’s heroic effort was doomed to end in defeat and Maccabi eked out an 85-79 victory.
“I didn’t think we would have such a tough time,” Maccabi coach David Blatt admitted. “We can’t play great basketball in every game.” Lior Eliyahu had 22 points for Maccabi, which also got 14 points from Guy Pnini.
Rich Melzer led Holon with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Moran Rot and Kasib Powell scored 18 points each for Danny Franco’s team, which had won its previous three games despite its financial struggles.
After a tight start to the game at Malha Arena, Jerusalem took a ninepoint gap (54-45) into the interval and cruised to a 107-89 victory in the second half.
Jawad Williams scored 23 points in an impressive debut for Jerusalem, with Jason Rich adding 18 and Yuval Naimi chipping in with 16 points for Hapoel, which visits the yellow-andblue next week.
Desmon Farmer had 26 points for Ashkelon, which has lost nine of 10.
At Nokia, it seemed to be only a matter of time until the hosts would open an unassailable lead after Jeremy Pargo’s basket gave Maccabi a five-point margin (14-9).
However, a 10-0 Holon run, capped by a Rot basket, gave the visitors a surprise lead and Franco’s men held a one-point advantage (21-20) after the first period.
To almost everyone’s surprise, not only did Holon keep pace with Tel Aviv in the second quarter, but it actually built up a significant lead.
A 15-5 surge to end the first half gave Hapoel a 13-point cushion (45- 32) at the break, but as expected Maccabi came right back in the third frame and seemed to be in complete control with 10 minutes to play.
Tel Aviv dominated Holon in the third quarter, ending it with a 13-2 run that gave it a 62-56 gap.
However, Holon never stopped fighting and Amit Ben-David’s threepointer with just over six minutes to play gave the visitors the lead once more (65-64).
The lead continued to change hands in the subsequent minutes and Holon was still in the game with less than two minutes to play after a Rot lay-up brought it within two points (76-74).
But it wasn’t to be for the courageous Holon, with Maccabi scoring the next five points to claim yet another BSL victory.