The Israel Basketball Winner League held a press conference ahead of Sunday’s first semifinal matchup between Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion slated to tipoff at 18:30 Israel time.
Last season, Rishon Le’Zion had the upper hand when the two squads faced each other in semifinal but so fair this season it’s been all Jerusalem with the Reds winning all five clashes.
Read Coach Oded Katash spoke about the challenge at hand:
“We’re excited and it feels like a regular Final 4. Although everything has changed and there won’t be fans and various other things, however, I’ve been pleased at how things have turned out and it’s been better than I expected.”
About having a week off between games:
“I think we needed it and we wanted to get ready, but it’s been good for us. We know how this might factor in and we didn’t know how yesterday’s games would end up but for us I’ve been happy to have the time and we will be ready to go.”
Jerusalem Captain Bar Timor also looked ahead to the semifinal clash:
“Not having fans is not great especilly for us. But we have one game coming up and we will be ready to play.
The fact that Rishon beat Jerusalem last season in the semifinals:
“I don’t think it’s in our head that we lost last year but there aren’t any favorites in this game at all.”
Rishon bench boss Guy Goodes discussed the mission ahead:
“I believe that we are coming into the game very prepared and we have been able to work well with the players going into the contest. The players got used to the quarantine issue and they are ready both physically and mentally.”
Not begin able to defeat the Reds this season:
“The fact that we lost five times shows Jerusalem’s strength but that also gives us motivation to surprise them.”
More about the contest:
“We have to come into the game mentally strong and play good basketball as we haven’t scored well from 3 against Jerusalem. Their bench is aggressive and strong. But anything can happen in one game. That’s the advantage of a one game winner take all which happened last year. But on paper Jerusalem the a stronger team everyone will agree to that.”
Oz Blayzer, Rishon’s captain also spoke about the one game do or die game:
“We are here to fight for the title and we believe in ourselves and deposited losing five times, we saw last year what can happen and we have to play 40 minutes in order to win.”