Yellow-and-blue Spain-bound for Final Four

"I think we are as ready as we can be," says Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt ahead of match up against Real Madrid.

Sofo 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Sofo 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s preparations for the Euroleague Final Four entered the final stretch on Wednesday when the team arrived in Barcelona ahead of Friday’s semifinal encounter with Real Madrid.
Maccabi will be playing in the Final Four for the first time since 2008, looking to lift its first European title after six years, and the game against Real couldn’t come early enough for coach David Blatt.
“Considering last night’s training session we should already play tonight,” Blatt said at Ben-Gurion Airport ahead of Maccabi’s flight to Spain.
“Under the circumstances, I think we are as ready as we can be. We have our plans and so does Real, but the game will be decided by how we implement our plans.
“We are capable of playing an outstanding Final Four, but it is important to remember that we haven’t played at a European level in a few weeks since the quarterfinal series against Caja Laboral Vitoria and I hope we can adjust quickly to the level of intensity and physicality.”
One of Maccabi’s keys to success on Friday will be the play of center Sofoklis Schortsanitis.
Sofo scored just 14 points in Tel Aviv’s last two wins over Vitoria and hasn’t played more than 15 minutes in any of Maccabi’s past five BSL games.
“I will do whatever Blatt asks me to as I have been doing all season,” the Greek center said. “We have given our all so far this season and now we have just one more game to win to reach the final.”
Over 4,000 Tel Aviv fans are expected to push the yellowand- blue in its semifinal against Real at Palau Sant Jordi Arena and captain Derrick Sharp is hoping not to disappoint them.
“Our preparation has been great and the guys are tuned in and focused and that is the main issue,” Sharp said.
“Maccabi, its fans and Israel represent the passion to be the best and win. We carry that on our shoulders and we will try and display it in the Final Four.”