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Israel State Cup Basketball Preview

Prior to tonight’s Israel State Cup Semifinals between Maccabi Tel Aviv/Maccabi Ashdod and Hapoel Jerusalem/Hapoel Holon let’s see what some of the players had to say!

Maccabi Tel Aviv Center Alex Tyus
What’s the difference between preparing for a Euroleague game and this type of game where it’s win or go home in State Cup?
“I don’t think there’s any difference, we try to prepare the same for every game. We’ve just gotta come out and do what we’ve been working on for the opponent and try to get a win.”

You were on the other side with Ashdod coming to the finals game as an underdog and almost came out on top. Can you try to understand what they’re going through coming in attempting to beat Maccabi Tel Aviv?
“I think everybody is trying to come out and do the best they can against Maccabi. Guys try to come out and play outside of themselves with a lot of energy. I think we need to try to treat every game the same and come out with more energy than them.”

Did you watch film on them because they’re on an 8 game winning streak and they look really good?
“We played them earlier in the year at their place and won. So we’re just gonna come out and be ready to play.”

Are there any worries if you lose here or in the Final that it could affect the way you approach the Euroleague?
“I don’t think it effects anything. I think we’ll come out and take it one game at a time and never think ahead. We just play the game on our schedule.”

Jake Cohen Maccabi Tel Aviv
You’ve been with Ashdod, what is it like from other side?
“I think from either side it’s a really exciting game. Any time you’re in the final four of a tournament, it doesn’t get any bigger than that. So I think everyone understands how big a game it is everyone’s going to be playing hard and trying to win.”

Do you think you’re going to have a more important role in the next couple of games?
“No, I think we’re just treating it the same. That’s been our attitude all season, to treat every game as the most important and that’s what we’ve been doing. There hasn’t been anything extra. It’s every game’s important, every game we want to win, every game you feel like you need to win it. That’s the way we’ve been approaching the game and that’s the way I’ve been approaching my work.”

One loss and you’re out.
“You’re right, but the way we approach games is like that, even for the regular season. We’re professionals, we know how much every game counts whether it’s in a regular season Israeli game, whether it’s a Euroleague game, or whether it’s a cup knockout game.”

In the Euroleague, you’re always the underdog whereas here you’re always the favorite. How do you handle that difference?
“Well that’s when I think what I just talked about comes into play, having a solid mental approach. If you let those things affect you, you’re going to be prone to having ups and downs. If you treat every game the same, if you have a good level of professionalism and you’re serious about every game, you can keep it balanced, keep it even-keeled.”

Gerald Lee Maccabi Ashdod
Important game tomorrow.
“Yeah it’s a huge game tomorrow and I think all of our guys are excited to play tomorrow and it’s a big opportunity for us.

What are you thinking about, surprising Maccabi Tel Aviv?
“Well we’re just going to concentrate on the things that we’ve been doing so far in that last 8 games and we just want to do them as well as we can.

Do you realize what it means for Maccabi Ashdod to win against here against Maccabi Tel Aviv?
“Yeah, I actually do because they’ve been talking about it a lot and we’re just going to concentrate in the game and try to do our best.”

What did they tell you about Maccabi Tel Aviv?
“Well we know that Maccabi is mostly winning every year everything so it’s going to be a tough battle.”

So what do you guys need to do to win tomorrow?
“We have a few tactics for tomorrow and we’re going to try them out. I’m not going to say too much right now but we’ll see.”

Rebounding is the key you think?
“Rebounds? Or course. They are very good with the offensive rebounds, especially Parakhouski and Tyus.”

Do you think you have a chance to beat Maccabi?
“Yes of course. In one game anything can happen and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Hapoel Jerusalem Guard Jerome Dyson:
It’s Cup Week, are you excited?
“Really excited. It’s something that we’ve been preparing for. We came up short last year and we’re really excited, we know what we’ve got to go out and do. What the team has to do most importantly is play our game and do what we do best.”

Holon is a very high octane offensive team, do you think the key is keeping it a low scoring game?
“It will be a high scoring game if we don’t come out with the defense we’re capable of doing. I think that’s one of the keys for us, we have to bring that aggressive defense that we bring to the court and not give up cheap points and make everything difficult for them.”

You’ve been in great shape the past month and a half or so, is that one of the key factors to bringing the victory?
“It can but like I’ve said it can be anybody. We have a great group of guys that, it can be anybody tonight, so I’m going to go out and do my best like everyone else is going to do and that’s all we can ask for.”