Madrid or Milano? Maccabi to determine their playoff foe as Fenerbahce awaits in Euroleague finale

Apr 13, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv welcomes Fenerbahce to Yad Eliyahu on Wednesday (19:30) in the Euroleague regular season finale that will determine which team the Yellow & Blue will face in their best of five quarterfinal series which gets underway next week. Avi Even’s squad enter the their matchup against the Turkish side with a 16-11 record good for 5th place while the visitors sit in 12th with a 10-17 record.

With a win, Maccabi will finish in 5th place and will ready for a postseason date with Real Madrid with the first two games in Spain slated for Wednesday April 20th and Friday April 22nd while games 3 and 4 if necessary would be played the following week. Should Even’s team lose they will end the campaign in 6th place and ready for Milano with the series opening up on the road on Tuesday April 19th with game two scheduled for Thursday April 21st while game 3 and 4 if necessary the following week on Tuesday and Thursday in Tel Aviv.

The big question facing all Maccabi fans right now is who would they prefer to play? Madrid or Milan? Milan or Madrid? A win and it’s Madrid, a loss Milan. An argument can be made for either team to be the better squad to face with each having their own strengths and weaknesses.

Angelo Caloiaro and Walter Tavares – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Maccabi beat both at home just this past month with the Yellow & Blue blowing out Milano while Madrid gave them much more trouble but fell apart in the final frame to gift the victory to the hosts.

In the road games, Milano dominated Maccabi and in Madrid the Yellow & Blue came close to winning but as they say, no cigar.

So the series either way will be tight and Avi Even is aware of that, “I don’t know if Real is better or worse than Milano. That is just speculation and that doesn’t concern me because there is no clear cut answer and in my eyes there are more important things at stake. Everyone has their own way and I respect that. Some teams would rather lose, but the way that I chose to follow since I began this job is the one I am going to stick with.”

Angelo Caloiaro also spoke about how close the potential postseason opponents are, “We played at Milan at the start of the season and got our butts kicked. We played very well at Madrid and you could argue that we should have won the game, we played them very tough at their place. Here Madrid was winning the whole game but we ended up winning and Milan we controlled the whole game out. You can’t choose. They are both very good teams, with very good coaches and veteran players. You have to worry about yourself and be in the best shape going into that series.”

Roman Sorkin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Israeli big man Roman Sorkin agreed that whether it’s Madrid or Milano the name of the game is to beat whoever they get and move onto the Final Four, “We don’t really have a preference and we are going in to win the game against Fenerbahce. We will play our game and it’s our last home game in the regular season and we want to win. We aren’t really thinking about it and we are going to play our game and we aren’t speculating. Whoever we get we will need to beat.”

So while the fans may sit and debate if Maccabi should win or lose to set up a more “favorable” matchup, it’s clear that Avi Even is having none of that and the goal against Fenerbahce is simply to win.

Avi Even – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“We are playing a tough team that is very talented at every position that has proven to be able to beat anyone. They are playing under no pressure as they can’t get into the playoffs and sometimes that is a dangerous situation and we will have to be ready and focused to win our last game in front of our fans.”

“We just want to get better and continue our momentum that we have built in the Euroleague,” Caloiaro said. “We will worry about ourselves as either team that we would get in the playoffs are very good. Both teams are good and we can’t choose one team over the other. We will go and play as hard as we can and see what happens.”

Maccabi has been going through their best stretch right now in quite some time in Euroleague play and the goal is to continue that ahead of the playoffs regardless of the opponent Sorkin explained, “We are going through a good period of time right now and I feel that I am in better shape and the most important thing is that we are winning right now.”

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