Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Holon look to punch ticket to BCL Quarterfinals

Mar 19, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

It’s a big week ahead for both Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel in European hoops action as the two teams will be looking to punch their ticket to the Basketball Champions League quarterfinals. The Reds will be playing their final Round of 16 Group Stage game against Karsiyaka in Laktasi, Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday (19:30 Israel time) while the Purples head to Hungary for a home away from home date with Murcia on Wednesday (19:30 Israel time).

Jerusalem enter the clash with their Turkish foe sporting a 3-2 record and with a win they will automatically advance to the playoffs. Should Tenerife fall to Peristeri and the Reds take the victory they will take first place in their group, however, should the Greeks win and Ilaias Kantzouris’s squad lose they will be on the outside looking into the postseason. If the Spaniards win, Jerusalem will head to the playoffs with a win or a loss and will end in second place in group play.

Yovel Zoosman – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

So without a doubt, Jerusalem will look to record the victory and not have to worry about the other game’s result.

However, easier said than done for Jerusalem who have been going through a miserable slump of late losing their last two BCL games against Peristeri and Tenerife while falling in domestic league play in embarrassing fashion to Hapoel Tel Aviv in front of their home crowd.

“We feel that we owe it to our fans and we all know what occurred,” struggling Israeli swingman Yovel Zoosman said. “It’s a do or die game and we will all come in ready and step up the level of our intensity. I believe and hope that we will be able to earn back some of the honor.”

Ilias Kantzouris – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Coach Kantzouris also spoke about his club’s critical continental clash, “I am pretty sure that the guys understand the importance of the game. We will go there and battle and we know that winning will allow us to qualify and then we can see what position we are in. The practice showed me that we are going to give everything.”

Hapoel Holon are in a trickier situation as a win may not be enough to see Amit Sherf’s team through to the quarterfinals even with a 4-2 record in Group L play. Due to point differential, Holon will need to see 0-5 AEK defeat Promitheas at home which is not impossible, but the Purples will also need to defeat ACB side Murcia which is no small order as well. A Holon loss will see the end of their European campaign while finishing a respectable 3-3 in group play.

Amit Sherf – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

However, an upbeat Sherf will be coming in after a tough league win over Kiryat Ata while playing with a very short rotation as well as a tight win on the road at Promitheas.

“We have a big game coming up and while we don’t have the point difference in our favor, we are going to go and win the game and then see what will happen. We know that anything is possible after seeing Breogan best Barcelona. Murcia have a very good team and coach but we feel that we can hurt them and attack their weak points, but we do know that they will try to get us out of our flow. It’s a big challenge and we will do the best that we can to win the game.”

Netanel Artzi – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

Netanel Artzi added, “We are going in to win and we will take the opportunity that we have. We will be focused all the way to the end and as long as there is a chance we will be trying to advance.”

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