Maccabi Hunter Haifa (2-5) embark today (Sunday) on a flight to Eilat for tomorrow’s matchup against Hapoel Eilat (2-5). Tip-off is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.
Both teams enter Monday’s contest with identical records and are coming off wins at Gan Ner — Maccabi beat Hapoel Tel Aviv, and Eilat earned a win over Gilboa/Galil.
Back from the Break
Offer Rahimi’s Greens recorded an important win on the road over Hapoel Tel Aviv (95-74) on November 19th. Captain Oz Blayzer was named Game MVP, recording a great stat line with a career-high 29 points, while snaring 10 rebounds in 36 minutes. Frederic Bourdillon also played well, scoring 11 points in 28 minutes.
After the win, the league went on a two-week break for FIBA’s National Teams qualifying games. Rahimi and Blayzer joined the Israeli national team and Angel Rodriguez had a long flight to play for Team Puerto Rico.
“It’s always hard to play at Eilat, which used the break to sign a new player and bring a new coach,” Rahimi said. “We prepared well for this game. We have to come and execute our game plan in order to come back to Haifa with a win.”
Will Maccabi win two straight in Eilat?
The Greens, from the Carmel, have not registered two straight wins in Eilat since 2012. Both teams have yet to win two in a row against one another in Eilat.
Maccabi’s contest in the Southern Israel will be the rubber match of a three-game road trip. The Greens are 1-1 thus far — starting with a loss in Nahariya and a win over Hapoel Tel Aviv.
“We earned a big win right before the break,” said Angel Rodriguez, whose Puerto Rican team went 1-1 in the FIBA Americas Qualifiers. “It’s important we to continue to build on that.”
Hapoel Eilat Report
Hapoel Eilat made two significant changes recently to the team. Eilat replaced head coach Meir Tapiro with Sharon Drucker, who started the season in Bulgaria, and they signed veteran point guard, Derwin Kitchen, who played well last season for Nahariya, averaging 8.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 28.5 minutes.
Both squads feature players who played for the other team last season. Amit Simhon will meet his former Green teammates, and Reggie Buckner returns to Eilat after playing on the team last year.