Hapoel Tel Aviv continued to rip through the Israeli league as they put the little hiccup against Maccabi Tel Aviv aside from a few weeks ago and took down Hapoel Beer Sheva 95-83. Their newest acquisition “Chief” Chinanu Onuaku is getting into the swing of things as each game goes by as he learns Danny Franco’s system and his teammates and vice versa. When a new player as dominant as Onuaku comes into a team it’s going to take some time for him to jell with the rest of his teammates and underhands what is expected of him and from him.
While the Israeli league is one thing as Onuaku was the league MVP last season with Bnei Herzliya, the EuroCup is an entirely different story. The Reds have lost three in a row and feature a record of 3-4 as they ready to face Slask at home on Tuesday as the Polish side are in last place in the competition.
Tomer Ginat who featured in the EuroCup last season with Metropolitans spoke about the upcoming game but also mentioned what “Chief” brings to the table, “Onuaku is very important. If course it will take time to get used to this change and make the proper adjustments and we have to understand that this will probably take even more time. The integration isn’t complete but we are on the way there.”
“We will need to be very aggressive in order to win the game and I’m sure the staff will have us prepared. It’s not easy to go between the two competitions but that’s part of the deal which is one that we want to be a part of and play in Europe where we have to handle these difficulties. But at the end of the day this is a big help for us and we feel good about it.”
Hapoel Jerusalem will also be in European action on Tuesday night when they visit Ludwigsburg as they look to pay them back for their lone defeat in Basketball Champions League action. With both teams sitting at 3-1, the Reds will try to wipe out the 9 point difference in order to have the tiebreaker should they finish atop of the group together with the German. Should they win and not wipe out the difference they will still control their own destiny and a win at Darussafaka will clinch a bye into the Round of 16 group stages. Worst case scenario is if Aleksandar Dzikic’s team falls to Ludwigsburg they will still have the best of 3 Play In playoff series to punch their ticket to the next stage of the BCL.
But putting that aside, Jerusalem headed to Germany after falling 96-87 to Nes Ziona in a game of the season candidate as both sides fought tooth and nail in a double overtime affair that felt like a playoff game.
Oz Blayzer spoke about the game that took a lot of effort out of teh capital city squad, “We fought hard and it wasn’t easy to play two overtimes. We couldn’t inbound the ball, foul, whatever. Perhaps it was lack of focus, small mistakes and they made less. We will learn from this and we have a super important game at Ludwigsburg coming up. There is a lot to learn from this game and we could have played better defensively. They are a very talented team but we made a lot of mistakes and they punished us.”
Dzikic also looked back at the game that was, “It was a thriller. We were one completed pass away from a different result but they stayed in the game and won at the end. We didn’t have appoint guard in overtime and it hurt. It’s hard to control Nes Ziona they are pretty good. We were missing a point guard at the end. One couldn’t play, one was out with five fouls and one is injured. I am not taking anything out of their victory but if we would have had a point guard who knows what would have been. We will try to forget this game and get ready for Ludwisgburg, that’s the only way.”
Herzliya won a big game at Maccabi Tel Aviv as head coach Oren Aharoni hopes that with the return of his point guard Quinton Hooker, the club will be able to turn over a new page and start moving up in the standings. For Yellow & Blue coach Oded Katash, they was yet another disappointing loss, their second in three games in Israeli league play with a Euroleague Double Week in Italy on the horizon. READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE!
Hapoel Haifa has had an interesting season to say the least. They are 4-3 in the Israeli league and advanced to the second round of the FIBA Europe Cup under head coach Sharon Drucker. There’s now question that the Carmel Reds have had decent season so far and they are only playing with four imports per game delisted having more than that signed with the team. Of course the limitation is only for Israeli games, so Haifa can use all of their foreigners in Europe as they look to move as deep as they can and perhaps even win the competition just like Nes Ziona did a few years ago. In order for Drucker’s team to make the most of the season they will need more performances from Spencer Weis like he had in this game with 12 points and big baskets down the stretch.
“He’s smart and he knows how to play the game,” Drucker said. “His intelligence is incredible and knows where the next play is going.”
Weisz also looked back at the game that was, “It was a big win for us against an aggressive and tough team. We knew it would be a dog fight for 40 minutes and I’m proud of the guys for sticking together in the tough moments down the stretch.”
It was incredible to see Itay Moskovich with 23 points lead Hapoel Galil Elyon to a terrific and important 98-94 victory over Kiryat Ata that moves them out of the league’s basement and relegation zone. In a superb and enthralling game, the 22-year old Israeli point guard took the bull by the horns and not only played well throughout the entire game, saved his best for last. With key baskets as the game came down to crunch time which also included free throws that were taken with ice in veins, Moskovich showed what potential he has and that there is a future for young Sabras should they be given the chance to shine. With Roi Huber still on the shelf, Barak Peleg decided to give Moskovich more and more minutes and he was rewarded with his decision.
In 19.2 minutes per game this season, the guard is averaging 9 points with back to back games of notching a career high. If Moskovich can keep this up there is no question that he will be playing for one of the bigger teams in the league going forward.
Galil Elyon head coach Barak Peleg spoke about his young guard, “Itay suffers from me plenty because I really like him and because my demands for him are more than a regular player. He works very, very hard and he deserved this game and I want more, I am not satisfied with you what he did in this game. I am very happy for Itay.”
“Itay had a hell of a day man,” teammate Deishuan Booker said. “Made some big shots and played with confidence. I love it. Now he messed up cause I’m not accepting anything less for him.”