Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Holon return to continental play on Wednesday when the Reds take on Besiktas in EuroCup action (20:00) while the purples tipoff against Bursaspor in Basketball Champions League play.
Danny Franco’s Hapoel Tel Aviv will welcome the Turkish club to Pionir Hall in Belgrade which has served as its home away from home since the start of the war with Hamas as they will look to keep the positive momentum rolling after defeating Badalona 103-99 last week.
“We have another significant challenge ahead of us against a quality team,” the bench boss began. “It’s true that this is our ‘home’ game, but when we are far away from Israel, from our supporters and our fans, it’s clear that we do not have any sense of ‘home’. Despite the difficult but understandable feelings of being away from Israel for an extended period of time, the players will do their best and give everything possible in order to make those watching back at home happy.”
Hapoel will be hosting children from the Gaza periphery as they had done at their road game in Paris while Franco and the entire club have been following the release of the hostages back in Israel.
“Every day we are excited and are following the release of the hostages and demand that all of them be returned home now!”
Veteran center Idan Zalmanson also spoke about the upcoming clash, “We got back to ourselves with a win last week over Badalona. But just as we are about to return home to Israel to begin the Israeli league season we want to continue to battle for the top spot in the standings against a quality and aggressive opponent that has played very well up until now.”
Hapoel Holon will travel to Laktasi in Bosnia and Herzegovina where they will visit Bursaspor after having spent a few days back in Israel after close to two months and the outbreak of the war.
Last week, Amit Sherf’s squad fell at Rio Breogan and will look to imporve upon the 2-1 record as well as getting back onto the winning track.
“This game will be key,” Sherf began. “We have to come into the game very focused as Jordan Floyd and Anthony Brown can create for themselves along with Michael Young at the 4 who can score which will demand of us to be aggressive on every single possession. Offensively, we need to take advantage of their relatively heavy bigs and create a quick, fast flowing game while attacking the paint at every opportunity in order for us to come back with a win.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to share the joy that the team felt when they heard about the release of the Brodetz family who are fans of the team and we all wish for the release of the other hostages who we are committed to supporting as well as the IDF soldiers who are guarding the country.”