Baselines – Israeli Basketball Shabbat Shalom Rundown: WINNER League Opens, Galil Elyon is back

Oct 15, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Each week just as we head into Shabbat, The Sports Rabbi will bring you his finals thoughts on the Israeli league week that was, Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Euroleague along with the other Blue & White teams in Europe plus you can check out all of the other postgame articles below as well.

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OPENER

The Israel Basketball WINNER League got back to action this week as the 2021/22 second got underway from the Galilee in the north all the way down south to Eilat as they joined the European competitions that have already gotten underway earlier in the month.

12 Premier League teams will battle it out for Israeli supremacy around the country with 6 of the clubs also playing in one of the continent’s competitions from the Euroleague and Champions League to the Europe Cup and Balkan League as excitement fills the arena in every corner of the country.

Adam Ariel – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il


In addition, two second division, Leumit League teams will also be participating in the Balkan League for a whopping total of 8 teams not only competing domestically but abroad as well.

In a recent Eurohoops poll, the Israeli league was ranked 9th overall in Europe which shows how respected a competition we have here in the Holy Land. While we may not have the “best league” according to the poll, we do have one that provides plenty of entertainment and excitement to fans young and old, long timers as well as first timers.

The Sports Rabbi saw three Israeli league games this week in Tel Aviv, Kfar Blum in the Galilee and in Holon to open the season. The most intriguing by far was the game up north, where for the first time in more than a decade Hapoel Galil Elyon is back in the top division where they hope to stay for many years ahead.

In fact, Galil Elyon was able to head into the final frame in front of Hapoel Jerusalem but at the end of the day the experience and depth helped the capital city reds to the victory. However, it wasn’t the result that was important, it was the fact that a team with so much history was back where it belonged.

Whether it was a league championship in the 1990’s, where coaches Pini Gershon and David Blatt began to spread their wings or where up and coming Israeli players like Omri Casspi and Lior Eliyahu got to really understand what it was like to be a professional basketball, having Galil Elyon back in the saddle is very special.

The club has high expectations explained the chairman Tamir Abrahams as the foundation that has been built around the team is solid and second to none. From the coaching staff to the sports director, Galil Elyon did a fantastic job of returning to where they belong.

After falling to Jerusalem on Sunday it didn’t take the team long to find their first win when they were victorious over Balkan BC in Balkan League play on Tuesday as they gave their fans something special to celebrate.

Here is to many more wins up north!

Chinanu Onuaku – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

LIKES & DISLIKES

  • I liked having the Israel Basketball League back in action this week with a number of excellent games especially the Hapoel Tel Aviv vs Bnei Herzliya matchup that saw the visitors snatch the win
  • I liked the effort by Herzliya who did not look great over the preseason and were ticketed to have a tough time against Hapoel Tel Aviv. But recent signing Chris Babb came in and did a spectacular job while Chinanu Onuaku had a tremendous league debut to help coach Oren Aharoni to the win.
  • I liked how Holon plays so fluidly with every player knowing their role under coach Maurizio Buscaglia as they cruised to an easy win over Rishon Le’Zion.
  • I liked how Ariel Beit Halachmi and his Hapoel Eilat won both of their season openers this past week; first against Nes Ziona and then in the Europe Cup as Israeli guard Roi Huber played spectacularly.
  • I liked Hapoel Beer Sheva being able to win their first game of the season and get off to a solid start as they seem to always do.
  • I liked how Maccabi Tel Aviv came back and was able to go 1-1 on their Euroleague road trip after playing horrifically at Milano.
  • I didn’t like how Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion played at Holon as they just had nothing going and got blown out early. TJ Williams was not good and continued his poor play from the preseason while Kris Clyburn had to fly back to the US for a family issue.
  • I didn’t like Jerusalem’s game against Manresa which was very, very hard to watch for all kinds of reasons which you can read about HERE.
  • I didn’t like that Nes Ziona was stuck on an 8 hour trip to Eilat on gameday after there had been an accident on the way down south. The club was already done before they even stepped on the floor.
  • I didn’t like that Gilboa went 0-2 this week and need to make some import changes due to injuries. This team went to the Israel league finals last season and I hope that they will be competitive this coming campaign as well.
  • I didn’t like Hapoel Haifa’s performance at Maccabi Tel Aviv and neither did their coach Elad Hasin.

Oren Amiel – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

QUOTES

“There are things that I would rather keep to ourselves and we went with players who could help us at the end” – Jerusalem coach Oren Amiel about benching Sean Kilpatrick

“Splitting the games was not a bad way to go back home” – Scottie Wilbekin after Maccabi’s win at ASVEL

“That’s a tough question for me and one that is hard for me to answer. That’s for other people to answer because I’ll be biased” – Kostas Antetokounmpo on who’s better his brother Giannis or LeBron

DOV HALICKMAN’S FAVORITE PHOTO

“ADIOS” Sylvain Francisco – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

ON DECK

There’s a full slate of WINNER League games this week with Hapoel Haifa hosting Hapoel Tel Aviv on Saturday night to kick of the round. On Sunday Maccabi travels back up to Gilboa for a date with the new guard Iftach Ziv’s former club while Holon gets back into Champions League play in Turkey against Darussafaka. Also on tap is a visit by ACB club Zaragoza to Gan Ner and Gilboa on Wednesday while Panathinaikos arrives in Israel for a Euroleague clash with Maccabi.

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