Franco looks to right the ship at Hapoel Tel Aviv but challenges lie ahead

Hapoel Haifa drubbed Hapoel Tel Aviv 92-78 in a game that was never even that close. Danny Franco made his debut on the sidelines for Hapoel Tel Aviv but the change didn’t help captain Yam Madar and teammates find a way to down the red hot Haifa squad. Keenan Evans led the way for Elad Hasin’s team with 23 points, Jason Siggers added 22 points while Lennard Freeman scored 15 points and pulled down 9 rebounds in the win. Reggie Upshaw checked in with a double-double for Tel Aviv scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 boards, Tyrique Jones chipped in with 16 points and Madar scored 10 points in the loss.

Hapoel Tel Aviv and their new/old head coach Danny Franco have a lot of work to do in order to straighten things out and avoid relegation. Franco, who began the campaign with Nahariya left his post up north last month as the northerners struggled out of the gate. Now back with the Reds where he was in charge between 2017-2019, Franco finds himself in a similar predicament with a team that features a 3-9 record and in 11th place.

Hapoel have a long way to go as some of the teams that struggled earlier in the season such as Bnei Herzliya (4-9) and Nes Ziona (6-5) made roster adjustments back in November to right their ships. Nahariya (2-11) made moves over the past month under new head coach Shay Segalovich and they look much better but still need a lot of work to get out of the basement, while it’s still unclear as to what Maccabi Haifa (2-11) will do in order to find a way to get things going under Daniel Seaone.

Yam Madar – Photo Credit:

However, watching Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Carmel against a newly promoted team in Hapoel Haifa, one would have thought that Franco’s crew were the ones who had just moved up a league, it was that bad; and he knows it. “I felt horrible and I apologized to the team that I couldn’t help them that much during the game. This was a very bad game and I am sure that the players on the court self the same way. But we can continue to talk about how bad it was or we can look forward.”

Luckily, the Franco and his team will have a break now for a few weeks and can readjust, recalibrate and most probably renew his roster as there will most certainly be personnel changes. The challenge will be is how to get those players into the country with the airport being closed until at least February 20th and no regular flights scheduled.

Danny Franco – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“We have to start from the beginning and bring in my way of playing. I will need to change almost everything because it seems that what the players have had up until now isn’t comfortable for them. My job is to do a complete 180 and go an entirely different direction. This is my job and the job of a coach. I’m here for about a day and a half and I will need to sit down with the staff and management to see what we can do. Together we will see how we can make this team better.”

There’s no question that Franco has a tough job ahead, but he has the experience to be able to find a way to move things in a different direction. He will need to work very hard on a number of aspects in order to get his team back into one that will look better on the court and move as far away as possible from the bottom of the standings. But he knows that he’s got to get his team playing better basketball and fast, “We was to play basketball and my goal is that we look better doing that our next game and go from there. After this game, all I want to do is enjoy basketball a bit.”

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