Battle for third place: Greens will host Herzeliya on Saturday

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Maccabi Hunter Haifa (16-11) will host Bnei Herzeliya (14-13) this Saturday at 8:10 pm at RK Arena. The contest is an important one, which could have implications over third place and home advantage in the quarterfinals of the Playoffs.

After consecutive losses to Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv, the Greens exploded with an outstanding first quarter against Ashdod, which sealed the deal early en route to a 90-72 home victory.  Herzeliya is coming in after a tough 90-80 loss to the Yellows from Tel Aviv, as well as a season-ending leg injury to power forward Jamar Samuels.

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“Herzeliya is a talented and well coached team, which has achieved impressive results so far. We will need full focus and determination in order to win this game,” head coach Rami Hadar said prior to the game.

Throughout the season, Maccabi has consistently played better in the first half than the second, with the second quarter usually being their best frame. In the first quarter of the Ashdod game, the Greens scored a season-high 32 points, while holding Ashdod to only 7 points in the second quarter, a feat which hasn’t happened since 2014.

Herzeliya and Maccabi Hunter Haifa are very familier with each other, as each team features players who have played on both teams. Veteran point guard Moran Roth, who played two seasons for the Greens, has struggled this season for Herzeliya, averaging 5.1 points and 4.0 assist in 19.2 minutes. Home grown talent Yiftach Ziv, played with the Greens for 12 games this season and then transferred to Herzeliya, where he is averaging 5.4 points and 2.9 assists in 15 games.

The Greens’ roster also has a player in Oz Blayzer with a past in Herzeliya, who played his first two season in the Winner Leauge for the Blues. Blayzer has found his groove as of late, posting 12.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and a 14 VAL over the last four games. Against Ashdod, he registered 15 points and 8 rebounds. Unlike Blayzer, center Alex Chubrevich struggled, in 16 minutes he didn’t score a single point for the first time since January 2015.

“The game against Herzeliya is very important to us, as we want to take another step to secure third place at the end of the regular season,” Chubrevich said. “We need to come and play our game, and I hope to see many Green fans in the arena.”

Thus far, Bnei Herzeliya is having a solid season, but feature one of the worst road records in the league at 3-10. In their 90-80 loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv, center Hamady N’Diaye set a season-high with 20 points scored, while adding 9 rebounds.