Maccabi Hunter Haifa will face Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Final Four on Monday at 9:15 p.m. at Menora Mivtachim Arena. The Greens advanced to the Final-Four after an impressive 3-1 series win over first place Holon, while the Yellows swept Herzliya, 3-0.
Tickets to the game are sold out. Approximately, 2,000 Green fans will be in attendance cheering on their team
Rising at the Right Time
Offer Rahimi’s Greens reached the Final-Four after a historic quarterfinal series victory over Holon. Maccabi became the first eighth place team ever to beat the first seed in a playoff series in Israeli Basketball history. The MVP of the series, John DiBartolomeo, who averaged 22.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in 28.3 minutes in the quarterfinals, was named All-Winner League First Team. Gregory Vargas also earned Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. Vargas was limited in the series as a scorer, posting 10.3 points against Holon, yet he continued to distribute the ball — dishing out 6.3 dimes over the four games.
“It’s hard to estimate how much their home advantage will help,” Offer Rahimi said. “We played against them three times this season, but it’s not the same team, especially on the coaching side. We also have had several changes.”
From Green & White to Blue & White
On Saturday, the IBAA announced their first Israeli roster for the Eurobasket 2017, which included two Maccabi Hunter Haifa players, Oz Blazer and Amit Simhon. Although, Simhon didn’t have a dominant series against Holon — averaging 7.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 24.0 minutes — the Greens are confident that he’ll return to form in the Final Four. Simhon averaged 14.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in 32.3 minutes in the regular season.
Captain Oz Blayzer was dominant in the series, posting averages of 14.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
“We are waiting for this game, we worked hard for it during the season,” said the captain. “We have a mission and it’s not an easy one, but we believe in ourselves, as we know our team. It’s each player’s dream to win the title and there is no question, it’s a big dream of mine.”
The Yellows’ road to the Semis
Maccabi Tel Aviv named their fifth head coach of the season, Arik Shivek, right before the start of the playoffs. Shivek guided the Yellows to a 3-0 sweep over Herzliya in the quarterfinals. The best player in the series was Quincy Miller who averaged 17.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while Andrew Goudelock (15.3 PPG) and Victor Rudd (14.0 PPG) also averaged double figures.
The last time the Greens faced the Yellows, Haifa defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv, 79-63, on the road for the first time in the club’s regular season history.