Can we say that Maccabi Tel Aviv redeemed their 2015-16 season with the Israel State Cup victory? Not quite, but in a year where almost everything went wrong at least the Yellow-and-Blue can celebrate a 43rd Cup win.
After losing twice to Ashdod in league play, Maccabi finally exorcised the demons by taking care of Tzvika Sherf’s side 83-75. Ironically enough the win occurred on a Thursday night usually reserved for Euroleague competition, but not this year due to the team being knocked out in the first round back in December.
Gal Mekel, who made his return to Maccabi after playing in the NBA and Europe took home the MVP award scoring 21 points in a dominating performance showing that he is truly the squad’s floor general going forward. But Mekel was just one of the storylines in a season that’s had its fair share of them.
The question still remains though, what will Maccabi do for next year. How will they build their squad for an extended Euroleague regular season. I think that we got the first view of that in the final.
Mekel will certainly be the player Maccabi will run their offense through and the foundation is being laid for the balance of the season and next year. That’s definitely something Maccabi fans will be excited about. The rest of the squad is wide open other than Devin Smith, Itay Segev, Yogev Ohayon, Sylvan Landesberg and Guy Pnini. That’s a good base and Tabak’s got to continue to develop Segev who has shown much potential over the last couple of months.
The Yellow-and-Blue will have to bring in some serious heavyweights especially in the forward and center positions where they have had trouble all year. The same will go for the guards as well. A major revamp has to take place, but most importantly right now they need to keep taking step by step to regain their confidence.
Tabak spoke about suffering in the post game press conference and the fact that the team needed to win the cup to lift their spirits and raise their confidence. And that’s exactly what will make the rest of the season a success. Sacrifice was another subject of discussion and Devin Smith fits that description to a T.
The wily veteran forward will be undergoing surgery soon and played hurt not even knowing if he would be able to play in the final, but he found the inner strength to help his teammates in need. These are the things that Maccabi will need to continue to look upon as the season continues on and the battle for the league tittle will be up for grabs down the road.
But in order to do so the fans have to be behind the team 110% which at this time they are misguidedly not. With a looming price increase in tickets, a certain vocal segment of the fan base have decided to protest management and not cheer fro the Yellow-and-Blue for the first half or so of games including the State Cup final.
Are they fools? Are they fighting a legitimate fight? The answer is yes to both of those two questions.
If you are a true fan of your club YOU WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER turn your back on the players that give everything they’ve got even in the worst of times. Can you boo? Sure you can let your feelings know, but to purposely boycott your team is not only disgraceful but sad, very sad.
A potential ticket price hike for the 2016-17 season is certainly a legitimate gripe and yes folks, I own pair of tickets myself which I will have to seriously consider whether I will renew them or not, but thats exactly the point. It’s not a right to won a season ticket. It’s a privilege and also something that you have free choice over doing or not. It’s how you decide to spend YOUR money, YOUR entertainment Shekel. It’s ultimately YOUR choice!
On the flip side, was it bright for management to tell the players not to celebrate with the fans after the win? YES! Both sides have now laid down the gloves which looks to be like an all out war and this is something that the team can’t afford should they want to build on the victory and have a strong finish to the year.
Time will tell how all of these factors will play out but for now I have one message for the fans:
CHEER ON YOUR TEAM! THEY NEED YOU!