Hapoel Jerusalem, Holon find out BCL group stage opponents, Nes Ziona into qualifiers

Jul 5, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

On Wednesday, the draw for the 2023-24 Basketball Champions League (BCL) – the eighth year of the competition – was held at the Patrick Baumann House of Basketball in Mies, Switzerland. The tournament will feature three Israeli teams, with Hapoel Jerusalem (last season’s runner up) and Hapoel Holon having qualified directly for the Regular Season, with Ironi Nes Ziona hoping to join them by winning one of the remaining three spots through the three Qualification Round tournaments.

The qualifiers for the Regular Season will tip off on September 25, 2023. Nes Ziona was drawn to play against Karhu Basket Kauhajoki (Finland) in their knock-out tournament bracket, with the winner of the tournament going through to the Regular Season.

The Regular Season, which commences with eight groups of four teams playing each other at home and away, will begin on October 17, 2023. Hapoel Holon was drawn in Group F with 2022-23 champions Telekom Baskets Bonn (Germany), Bursaspor (Turkey) and Rio Breogan (Spain). Hapoel Jerusalem was drawn in Group G with Galatasaray nef (Turkey), PAOK mateco (Greece) and one of the winners of three Qualification Round tournament winners.

After the Group Stage, the group winners go straight to the Round of 16, while second-and-third placed teams compete in the Play-In Series, to be played in January 2024. The eight Play-In winners will then join the group winners to form the four groups in the Round of 16, where the top two teams from each group will continue to the best-of-three knockout Quarter-Finals series. The season will then conclude with a Final Four event in May 2024.

The event, which was hosted by former French player and current BCL Communication Associate Chloé Westelynck, kicked off with BCL Chairman Markus Studer presenting a check EU 1,000,000 to Telekom Baskets Bonn Sports Director Savo Milović, as an award for the team winning the 2022-23 BCL. Of course, Israeli basketball fans will remember that Bonne defeated Hapoel Jerusalem 77-70 in the final in Malaga, Spain.

BCL CEO Patrick Comninos, together with Michael Kessens of reigning champions Telekom Baskets Bonn and former Hapoel Jerusalem captain Lior Eliyahu, drew the teams to determine their placements.

“The BCL has made huge strides, I think that the event has grown,” Kessens said of the competition. “The basketball community has tremendous respect for the competition. It’s become something that teams really want to win and complete in. That’s why it’s an honor to participate and even a bigger honor to win it.”

“I believe yes and to try to keep as much as they can from the great team they had this year for next year,” Eliyahu said of Hapoel Jerusalem’s prospects for the upcoming season. “I believe that this is the right way for a successful team. That’s the target and they’re going for it.”

“They say that seven is a lucky number and we do feel very lucky and blessed for everything that has been achieved over the last seven years,” Comninos said. “A competition that started modestly with an intention to develop and make positive steps every year has now grown considerably to the point that includes some of the very best teams in Europe.”

Qualification Rounds
Qualification Round tournament #1 quarterfinals: Bakken Bears Aarhus (Denmark) v KB Peja (Kosovo); Kalev/Cramo (Estonia) v Norrköping Dolphins (Sweden); SL Benfica (Portugal) v TSU Tbilisi (Georgia); and Patrioti Levice (Slovakia) v Petrolina AEK Larnaca (Cyprus).

Qualification Round tournament #2 quarterfinals: Cholet Basket (France) v Telenet Giants Antwerp (Belgium); FMP Soccerbet (Serbia) v Pallacanestro Varese (Italy); Happy Casa Brindisi (Italy) v CSM CSU Oradea (Romania); and Heroes Den Bosch (Netherlands) v BG Gottingen (Germany).

Qualification Round tournament #3 quarterfinals: SIG Strasbourg (France) v Jonava CBet (Lithuania); Karhu Basket Kauhajoki (Finland) v Ironi Hay Motors Ness Ziona (Israel); Legia Warszawa (Poland) v Winner Pre-Qualifier (Caledonia Gladiators v Fribourg Olympic); and Mornar Barsko Zlato (Montenegro) v Monbus Obradoiro (Spain).

Regular Season
Group A: Unicaja (Spain), Falco Vulcano Szombathely (Hungary), Peristeri bwin (Greece) and Le Mans Sarthe (France).
Group B: JDA Bourgogne Dijon (France), Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania), Promitheas Patras (Greece) and BK Opava (Czech Republic).
Group C: Lenovo Tenerife (Spain), Darussafaka Lassa (Turkey), VEF Riga (Latvia) and winner of Qualification Round tournament #2.
Group D: AEK (Greece), MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany), Dinamo BdS Sassari (Italy) and King Szczecin (Poland).
Group E: Pinar Karsiyaka (Turkey), Filou Oostende (Belgium), EWE Baskets Oldenburg (Germany) and winner of Qualification Round tournament #3.
Group F: Hapoel Holon (Israel), Telekom Baskets Bonn (Germany), Bursaspor (Turkey) and Rio Breogan (Spain).
Group G: Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem (Israel), Galatasaray nef (Turkey), PAOK mateco (Greece) and winner of Qualification Round tournament #1.
Group H: Tofas Bursa (Turkey), Igokea m:tel (BIH), UCAM Murcia (Spain) and Bertram Yachts Derthona (Italy).

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