There will be a trio of Israeli teams playing in European action on Wednesday as Maccabi Tel Aviv will visit ASVEL Villeurbanne, Hapoel Tel Aviv will heads to Ljubljana and Hapoel Holon will “host” Bonn in Riga, Latvia.
The Yellow & Blue will look to move two games over .500 when they face the French club at 9:15pm Israel time as they will matchup against their up and coming Israeli guard Noam Yaacov who starred for the Under-20 team this past summer.
Villeurbanne may be languishing near the bottom of the standings, they have just moved into a new Arena but will play this game back in the Astroballe and made a recent change on the sidelines by bringing in Italian head coach Gianmarco Pozzecco.
Oded Katash spoke about the game, “We are facing a team with a lot of experience and with players who have been through a lot in the Euroleague and have a rich past in the league. Our goal is to continue the momentum from the game against Alba Berlin and start the double week on the right foot.”
“Villeurbanne is an excellent team,” Roman Sorkin added. “They are much better than their position in the standings and it’s definitely a challenge, but we feel good. We’ll have to be aggressive and especially win in the battle of the boards. That will be key.”
Bonzie Colson also commented, “They are a good solid team certainly at home but we feel good. To win we’ll have to play well on both sides of the court and stick to our principles. At the end of the day, we’re doing what we love and we’re excited about it.”
It’s unclear if Josh Nebo who had been out ill last game and John Dibartolomeo who has a groin issue will play with the decision coming closer to tip-off.
Hapoel Tel Aviv will begin the second round of EuroCup play when they head to Ljubljana for a date with Cedevita Olimpija at 7:30pm Israel time. The Slovenian squad are 0-9 and still looking for their first win of the season while Hapoel are 6-2 afetr defeating Simone Pianigiani’s team in the first game of the campaign.
Danny Franco looked forwards to the game, “We want to continue to progress and improve from game to game, even if we lack regular practice. I hope that maybe this week we can go back to training together. A road game is always challenging, certainly against a team that is improving and has made some notable results in the Adriatic League recently. As far as we are concerned, we will try to get together again in a very short time, in order to do our best to make the fans in Israel happy. We value and care for the safety of the security forces who are working day and night for the security of Israel.”
Captain Tomer Ginat added, “We want to return to Israel with another victory that will help us in the fight for the top position as we start of the second round. Ljubljana is a club with tradition and they will come in to this game looking to win, but I believe that being together and what we have implemented this season, that we will know how to overcome them.”
Hapoel Holon will welcome Bonn in Basketball Champions League play in Riga as they will look to cement their place in the standings in order to book a place in the next round.
Just before the game head coach Amit Sherf said, “The fact that we are flying from Israel to the “home” game in Riga shows us that we are in the midst of a difficult time. We have been without two of our staff, Ido Levit and Osher Michaeli for two months and before basketball I want to repeat myself and say how much we miss them and how much we love them.”
“The game against Bonn will be a battle for first place and we will work very hard to win it. Bonn is a team that has a wonderful offensive flow and our first goal will be to stop it. We will first have to stop the play between two of their guards, Harald Frey and Glynn Watson and after that slow up their big wing players, Savion Flagg and Brian Fobbs who are excellent in the transition game and look to attack at every opportunity.”