PREVIEW: Maccabi vs. Hapoel Tel Aviv

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After a 3-week hiatus, Maccabi Hunter Haifa (5-12) returns to Romema to face Hapoel Tel Aviv (9-8) on Sunday at 19:50 in the 18th Round of the Israeli Winner League.  In the previous round, the Greens overcame Nahariya at home, while the Reds from Tel Aviv suffered their second straight loss — a gut-wrenching 86-85 defeat to Gilboa Galil.

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New Kid on the Block

Last Tuesday, Maccabi announced the signing of new acquisition, Trevor Gaskins, who landed in Israel and has already acclimated with the team. The 28-year-old guard helped guide Correcaminos de Colon to a 2017-18 Panamanian league championship, appearing in 15 games while posting averages of 17.2 points, 5.0 assists (fourth in the league), and 3.7 rebounds in 33.2 minutes.  He has played professionally in the top divisions in Argentina, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Panama.

“Trevor brings us depth, size and flexibility to the backcourt,” said head coach Offer Rahimi.  “We’ve followed him for the past six months, and we’re hopeful his leadership and skill set will help lift the team in the second half of the season.”

The Greens will register five import players for the game against Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Aiming for Two in a Row

The Greens defeated Ironi Nahariya, 84-73, in comeback fashion at home on February 11, snapping a 7-game losing streak in the Winner League.  Bowman exploded for 15 points in the final period, and together with Dagan Yivzori, who scored three important 3-pointers, propelled Maccabi to victory — outscoring their opponent 34-17 in the fourth quarter.  Angel Rodriguez also shined with 8 assists and a season-high 6 steals in the victory.

Offer Rahimi’s players come into Sunday’s game with the goal of winning two straight contests — which has not happened since the 8th Round against Hapoel Eilat.

“It’s a tough game for us against Hapoel Tel Aviv, from all aspects,” Rahimi said prior to the game. “They are a quality and well-coached team, I hope we will be able to achieve another victory, especially for our fans.”

“Our mindset is on winning games. Hapoel is a good team, but we must earn more wins at home. We signed a new player, Trevor, who looks very good in practice and I’m sure he will help us a lot in the second half of the season,” added Guni Israeli.

Night to Remember

In the 7th Round of the Winner League, Maccabi faced off against Hapoel Tel Aviv at Gan Ner and set a season-high for points scored with a 95-74 victory. The Greens dominated the contest almost from the opening tip, led by Greens’ captain, Oz Blayzer, who scored a career-high 29 points (12-for-20 from the field, 10 rebounds), Bowman’s 17 points (5-for-9 from the field, 7-for-9 from the line, 7 rebounds) and Rodriguez’s 12 points (7-for-7 from the line).