The Zan Tabak era at Maccabi Tel Aviv BC took yet another serious hit as the Yellow-and-Blue were blown out in Spain falling to Malaga 82-68. The chances were slim for the Israeli side to advance to the Round of 16 prior to the game and now they are even worse.
Maccabi were slow out of the gate abut only down 26-20 after the first frame. However a 17-0 run by Malaga to begin the second quarter did Maccabi in as they were only able to look up after those first few crucial minutes. It seemed anything that Maccabi wanted to do to stop the run was unsuccessful as the hole would just be too deep to dig out of.
Miraculously Maccabi was able to out score the Spaniards 18-15 in the third quarter giving the visitors a spark of hope especially when they pulled to within 8 points. But it wasn’t meant to be as Malaga led by Will Thomas and his 20 points pulled away and never looked back leaving Maccabi in an unenviable situation entering their next game against Sassari in Italy.
Jordan Farmar, Taylor Rochestie and Sylven Landesberg all scored 13 points for Maccabi but the output from the power forwards and centers were only a combined 13 points just two points more tha former Yellow-and-Blue big man Richard Hendrix who picked up a double double with 11pts and 10 rebounds.
It’s clear that Tabak has a tremendous amount of work to do in Europe and will have to make some player personnel moves either midway through the season or near the end of the year as the club prepares to move into the 16 team Euroleague for the 2016/17 season. Maccabi with a 6-2 domestic Israeli league record right now is good if you look back to what it had been after 3 games. The Yellow-and-Blue should have enough firepower even with the current squad to win the league, but is it time to just fold up the Euroleague campaign and prepare for the EuroCup for the second half of the season?
Maccabi has 3 games to go in Euroleague play, with one at home against Bamberg and two on the road at Sassari and in Istanbul against Darrussafaka. It’s a massive uphill battle, impossible? Perhaps. It’s going to take a lot of effort to win in Turkey on the final Gameday of the first round and from what we’ve seen so far from Maccabi the chances are slim to none.
On the flip side a trip to the EuroCup will be a financial hit to ownership, however it may allow Tabak the time and ability to begin molding a team that will be able to compete on a game in game out basis next year in a much more exclusive Euroleague with 30 games. Regardless there is plenty for the Croation to do going forward and Maccabi fans may just have to bite their lips, be patient and know that whatever occurs this season may be a blessing in disguise.