Maccabi Hunter Haifa (11-7) will host Maccabi Tel Aviv (13-5) tomorrow (Saturday) at 8:10 pm at RK Arena. The third-place Greens come into Saturday’s contest after two road games, including a victory at Jerusalem and a loss at Holon. The second-place Yellows lost their last game in the Eurocup to Union Olimpija Ljubljana on Wednesday.
Will Graves and Reggie Buckner will be available to Rami Hadar after missing thee last game at Holon due to injuries. Despite missing Buckner and Graves last game, Alex Chubrevich had a career-night against Holon, scoring a career-high 20 points and snared 8 rebounds in 33 minutes. Gregory Vargas registered more than 11 points for the first time since game 10, as he contributed 16 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds.
On Thursday, Haifa officially introduced Hunter as the team’s main sponsor, holding a press conference in which they unveiled the team’s jerseys with the Hunter logo. Maccabi Hunter Haifa will feature the jerseys for the first time in the game on Saturday against Tel Aviv. Earlier in the week, Maccabi Hunter Haifa signed young prospect, Daniel Kuperberg, until the end of the season, with an option for a three-year extension.
“Maccabi Tel Aviv upgraded their roster since the last game against us,” head coach Rami Hadar said. “Naturally, against a strong team, we need to minimize the mistakes and not to lower our aggressiveness for a minute, if we want to finish the night with a win.”
“Tomorrow will be a great test for our team to bounce back after a tough loss last week,” Rene Rougeau said. ”Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Cup game, and we’re looking forward to getting revenge tomorrow night.”
The last game against Maccabi Tel Aviv was a painful one as Rochestie hit a buzzer-beater 3-pointer to defeat the Greens 73-70 in the State Cup quarterfinals in front of a sold-out RK Arena. Rougeau shined with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals, on his way to a 25 VAL in the loss. After signing Gal Mekel, Maccabi Tel Aviv now features 5 former Green players (Yivzori, Randle, Ofoegbu and Landsberg). Since Tel Aviv lost their last Europcup game, Zan Tabak’s team will need to defeat Nizny on Wednesday in order to advance to the next stage.
The Yellows’ last league game was against Rishon Lezion, in which they narrowly won 100-94. Gal Mekel was the MVP of the game, contributing 17 points and 12 assists (his second double-double in a row) and in his short stint with Tel Aviv he is averaging 16.5 points, 11.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 29.0 minutes in two games. Ike Ofoegbu was close to a double-double with 17 points and 8 rebounds in one of his best games in a Yellow uniform so far.