Maccabi Haifa hosts fifth place Hapoel Holon

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The Greens are on the rise.  Winners of seven of their last nine contests, Macabi Bazan Haifa (8-9) hosts Hapoel Holon (10-7) on Monday, February 2 at 7:30pm at Romema Sports Arena in the 18th round of the Israeli Super-League. The Green’s Moran Roth is expected to return to action against Holon, after being sidelined due to a calf injury since December 28.   Both teams come into this matchup after victories in their last league game.  The Greens defeated Gilboa/Galil on the road, 86-76, and the Purple and Gold edged Nes Ziona at home, 79-76.

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Rene Rougeau put on an incredible show with a rare stat line of 22 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists, 7 steals and 3 blocks, totaling a 49 VAL, a season record in the Winner league.  Rougeau has leaped into the Top 5 of two league leaders categories, as he is the third in steals (2.1 steals per game) and sixth in blocks (1.0 blocks per game).

“Our team has stabilized over the past several weeks and improved on the execution of our game”, said coach Rami Hadar. “I hope that in this important game against Holon, we will continue our improvement.”

Back on court (photo: Micha Kizner)

The last time, the two teams met was in the State Cup with Maccabi winning 99-87 after their best offensive output this season. In the game, several players shined with Rougeau nearly tallying a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists.  Moran Roth had his best game in a Maccabi uniform this year, with 16 points and 7 assists, while Alex Chubrevich also recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The top scorer in this game was Ike Ofoegbu, who tallied 23 points (8-of-11 from the two) and pulled down 6 boards.

“This is a big test for us coming up,” Ofoegbu said.  “It’s a chance for us to move up.  We are on a roll and we expect it to keep going. We lost a tough overtime game at their place. So this game is one we are definitely looking forward to.”

Hapoel Holon is tied for fifth place in the standings with the same record as four teams. Six players in Holon are averaging double figures per game, with Tony Crocker, the only player who started in every game for the team, posting averaging of 14.8 PPG. Guard Jordan Taylor is performing well with 14.5 PPG and 4.3 assists and in the last game he netted 17 points. The third foreigner in Holon’s starting five is Dominic McGuire, who opened the season at Eilat and moved to Holon after the fifth game of the season.

One of Holon’s best Israelis is their captain Shlomi Harrush, who put on a show against Nes-Ziona with 24 points.  Prior to Monday’s game, Harrush will be awarded Israeli MVP of the Week, a week after the Greens’ Captain Dagan Yivzori received the award. The last player in Elad Hasin’s starting five is Isaac Rosefelt, who is averaging a league-leading 9.8 rebounds, while posting 11.9 PPG.