Maccabi Haifa rally falls short in Winner Cup loss

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Maccabi Haifa were handed their first loss of the preseason, falling 83-75 to Hapoel Eilat at Drive In arena in Tel Aviv in the Winner Cup quarterfinals.  The Greens were led by Rene Rougeau, who tallied 18 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds.

“We didn’t play good defense today, and I hope that as the preparation will go we will be better and stop making fouls”, said coach Rami Hadar. “We are missing a few players, and it makes it harder, but I am deciding who will play according to my needs.”

“It was a hard game, and we didn’t play like we played so far,” said team Captain, Chanan Colman, who was held scoreless from the field (0/9). “We are missing one big man, but we are doing our best without him.”

Haifa struggled to find their rhythm throughout the start of each quarter, but midway through each period they fought back to keep the game close. John DiBartolomeo (14 points and 6 assists) and Oz Blazyer (13 points) turned the tide for Haifa in the second quarter as they managed to erase a 10-point deficit to knot the score at 31-31 at the 7 minute mark of the second quarter. The Greens and Eilat traded leads but went into the break tied at 42-42.

The Greens again found themselves in a hole after a 16-4 start to the third quarter by Eilat, but a 13-0 run thanks to three 3-pointers from Amir Celestin helped Haifa claim a brief advantage at 59-58. However, Eilat finished the quarter stronger than Haifa, grabbing a 67-61 advantage. In the last quarter, Rougeau pushed Haifa to within three-pionts at 78-75, but Eilat eventually sealed the game at 83-75.

Stats: Rougeau 18 pts (6 as and 5 as), DiBartolomeo 14 pts (6 as), Chubrevich (11 reb) and Blayzer 13 pts each, Celestin 9 pts, Vargas 6 pts (4 rebs, 4 ast) and Ziv 2 pts. Colman, Chin and Artzi played and didn’t