“We are coming to play” Israel Basketball State Cup Final – Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion

May 26, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion will battle it out in the Israel State Cup Final, Thursday 20:45 at the Toto Arena. The Yellow & Blue will look to win their first State Cup in three years after not having featured in the title game for a number of campaigns. The wine city squad will attempt to do what many consider the impossible; win the Cup with a depleted team after having a number of import players leave the country during the security situation.

Despite not having a full complement of players, Rishon coach Guy Goodes will try to shock the world despite also not having rising star Noam Dovrat who suffered an elbow injury that will keep him out for two months in the club’s last game.

Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad will be raring to go after falling to Hapoel Jerusalem earlier in the week and will be focussed on the task at hand which is to win their 45th Israel State Cup. “We haven’t won in three years and this is the reality,” Sfairopoulos explained. “I haven’t been in this final since I’ve been at Maccabi. We want to win as many trophies as we can and we are playing a very good team even with their absences. They are scoring more now than before and I know it won’t be easy. A cup game can always have surprises. We know that they will come tough and fight tomorrow and so will we.”

“We aren’t coming into the game just to be here and to think that we are better now because we are scoring more is a bit unfair,” Goodes responded. “We have only one import and it’s great that we are here, but in both games against Maccabi we lost by +20 points. It’s not possible that we are better than we were before, but we will come in with youth players as well on our squad and we will promote our Israeli players.”

Goodes continued, “We won a few games in the relegation playoffs and our Israelis were fantastic. I didn’t expect that we would play so well without having all of our imports. I am flattered at how much each and every one of them gave. We will be without Noam Dovrat who was injured last game and he is our leading guard. Gal Peled showed what he could do and as a coach it’s incredible to see these players turning into real pros.”

Omri Casspi, who has been a key part in winning a State Cup spoke about how much it will mean to him to win it, “I’ve been waiting for this, all of us as a team. It’s exciting to play for a title. We won the Winner Cup now we want to win the State Cup. We have a tremendous amount of respect for Rishon and they have the best offense in the league. We will have to play our best in order to win.”

The first Israeli in the NBA saw how his team fell to a short Jerusalem roster earlier in the week and wants to make sure that this won’t be the case again, “Ioannis warned us about not playing against a full squad before the Jerusalem game and it’s unfortunate that we lost. But is brought us down to earth and we have to come focused and play our game in order to win.”

Golan Gutt who has been putting up big numbers for Rishon also expressed his thoughts on the final, “I’m excited about the final and this is a great opportunity although we will be playing with a short roster. We will need to play a perfect game in order to win but we will do everything we have to in order to do so. Regardless as to the roster we are coming to play.”

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