1) Israel fell at home to Greece 96-78 in FIBA World Cup Qualifier action which was a one sided affair at Yad Eliyahu. The Blue & White kept it close for the first half going onto the break down 49-42 but could only muster up 10 points in the third quarter as the visitor’s busted open the game. Jake Cohen starred for Israel with 21 points while Tamir Blatt added 12 points in the defeat. The Greeks were led by Konstantinos Mitoglou with 21 points as Giannoulis Larentzakis added 17 points going 4/4 from beyond the arc. Greece was dominant from 3-point land hitting 13/26 of their chances from deep while Isreal could only go 5/19. A full game analysis will be out tomorrow including exclusive interviews with Rich Howell, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and MVP Konstantinos “Dinos” Mitoglou.
2) Head coach Oded Katash summed up his side’s performance, “It’s very disappointing. They are better than us and we felt that we had a chance to get back into the game at halftime but we lost the ball too many times in the 3rd quarter, we lost confidence and we just got down. They knew how to take advantage of their opportunities from 3 and it was very hard to stop them. I told the players to keep their heads high and that we have a very important game in Monday and we have to continue to battle. We wanted to give the fans something but they were just better than us.” Captain Gal Mekel spoke about the game that was: “We didn’t play well today. We were in the game until midway through the 3rd quarter but Greece played at a very high level and we just weren’t there. We have to continue on and we have a very important game in three days.”
3) Danny Franco will be back as Hapoel Tel Aviv BC Coach next season and that’s good news for Reds fans. Franco did a masterful job with the squad last year taking them to the Final Four before falling to Maccabi Tel Aviv in the semifinals. The former Hapoel Jerusalem coach certainly knows his X’s and 0’s and will have an immediate challenge at hand as Hapoel will look to qualify to play in the Champions League. Credit goes to the Reds for showing faith in Franco and trust to continue the path that they’ve been on since moving up from the lower divisions. An extension well deserved.
Quick Hits – Radu Ginsari will continue with Hapoel Haifa after a solid season Last campaign…Brazilian defensive midfielder Roger Bernardo joins Hapoel Tel Aviv FC on a 1+1 deal…Fredric Bourdillon reupped with Hapoel Eilat BC…