Hapoel Tel Aviv faces Besiktas in QF, Holon looks to keep BCL playoff chances alive at Promitheas, Jerusalem tips-off vs Peristeri

Mar 13, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

Holy Land Hoops Super Wednesday is here as three Israeli teams will be in European action with plenty at stake for each club. Hapoel Tel Aviv play Besiktas in a win or go home EuroCup quarterfinal matchup in Lithuania, Hapoel Holon face Promitheas in a must win Basketball Champions League Round of 16 Group Stage contest in Greece while Hapoel Jerusalem looks to punch their ticket to the BCL quarterfinals when they play Peristeri in Hungary.

Hapoel Tel Aviv will play their one game quarterfinal on Wednesday (19:30 Israel time) against a Besiktas team that they have already beaten twice this season, however, after the Turkish squad defeated Gran Canaria on the road last week in a Round of 16 matchup, the Reds must be careful to make sure they are focused for the entire 40 minutes.

In what will be a “home” game for Hapoel that will be played in Vilnius, over 500 fans will be in attendance as they look to advance to the semifinals where Bourg from France will be waiting for them in a best-of-3 series. Should Danny Franco’s team move on to the next round, they will not have home court advantage and the first game will take place on either March 26 or 27th with game 2 slated for March 30th and if necessary game 3 will be on April 3rd.

Danny Franco – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


“We are all ready and are anticipating this game,” Franco said. “I along with the entire team believe that the way we played throughout the season will take us to the right spot especially together with the crowd that came a long way to help push us. I am sure that everyone will come to fight and give their best to win the game.”

Veteran guard Will Cummings also looked ahead to the big game, “It’s always tough, every time you make it to the playoffs that is where all of the good teams are, so we have to really take it one game at a time. It’s been a long season and we’ve played a lot of games. Everybody is experienced now so we just have to go and win, play defense and make sure we do all of the little things and take it one possession at a time. When we were playing in Belgrade we didn’t have any fans so it’s great to have the support. When it’s loud and hearing chants throughout the game, that is factor that we are looking to use and hopefully that will help us.”

Will Cummings – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


Bar Timor added, “We are very excited to play in front of the crowd that came from Israel to support us. We are very excited, we are looking forward to it and it’s going to be a very tough game against a good opponent. We have had a good week of preparations and we just want the game to begin.”

Hapoel Holon readies to meet Promitheas Patras in Greece (19:00 Israel time) as they currently sit at 2-2 after games of Round of 16 group stage play and will need to win this game in order to make it to the final contest at Murcia to have a chance to advance to the quarterfinals. Should the purples lose to Prometheas they will be eliminated automatically from playoff contention. The first time the two clubs faced one another the Greeks took a 74-65 victory as Anthony Cowan and Hunter Hale starred for Promitheas.

Amit Sherf – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


Head coach Amir Sherf spoke about the upcoming contest and its importance for the club, “We are heading to Patras and will meet a team that is in excellent shape as Promethas has won six of its last seven games. We will have to limit their leading guards, Hale and Cowan, not allow the forwards free shots and do a better job on defensive rebounding.”

“Offensively we will have to improve the pace we had from the previous game against them where we were dragged into a slower style of play. They are a team that presses with the guards very high and I hope that we will create advantages with the help of proper spacing and aggressiveness in the paint via penetration or post ups on their guards. After a period of time with a number of injuries, we will travel with an almost full squad to the game. We will have to find the best chemistry and lineup to win in order to have a chance to continue to the next stage.”

Oz Blayzer – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


Finally, Hapoel Jerusalem will tipoff against Peristeri in Szombathley, Hungary (21:00 Israel time) as the reds will look to clinch a place in the quarterfinals with a victory over Vassilis Spanoulis’s squad. Should Karsiyaka defeat Tenerife and Ilias Kantzouris’s team records a win they will lock up first place in their group as well.

“Coach Spanoulis’s achievments speak for themselves,” Kantzouris began. “He’s a great person and great coach and he will have a bright future, but now for 40 minutes we are opponents. We need to play this game as a final and everybody has understood the importance of the game. We need to be consistent, play the game through our defense and do the necessary plays. As for the Israeli league, everything will come in the playoffs. We have to think one game at a time and right now we have the obligation of the BCL but I am pretty sure with the lockerroom and the guys we have it’s just a matter of time until we play well in the local league.”

Levi Randolph – Photo credit: Dov Halickman


Jerusalem captain Levi Randolph also spoke about the keys to the game after a tough go in the Israeli league, “We know that we have been struggling but everyone is coming to work every day with the focus of getting better and we want to continue to improve. For us our MO is the defensive end so we want to continue to get better on that end, do those things in practice and translate them into the game. We have a great group of guys who are hungry and want to continue to improve and bring some more wins.”

Oz Blayzer added, “We are all aware of the importance of the game. We are also aware of the fact that we haven’t been playing well recently, but I believe that the importance of this game will give us a push forward. We are all coming with motivation to win this game and I believe that it will be a good game and that we will do what we need to.”

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