Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv faces Maccabi Rishon Le'Zion on Tuesday evening as part of the Israeli "Winner" League Final Four Final. This is the second straight year Giannis Sfairopoulos's squad prepares for Guy Goodes's Oranges.
After a hard-fought 2:1 Quarterfinal series win Hapoel, the Yellow & Blue beat Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 81:78 in the Semifinal. In the earlier Semifinal matchup, Maccabi Rishon Le' Zion blew a promising lead against Hapoel Jerusalem, but Adam Ariel drained a dramatic game-winning three-pointer sending the Oranges to their third final appearance.
Head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos spoke towards the finals: "It wasn't an easy period because it was after we all were quarantined during March, April, and May. When we started to practice with these conditions, the players had to stay in quarantine for two months, and that is not an easy situation. We overcame that, and now we are thinking only about the final".
The head to head during the season and the team's energy showed in the past several games: "When you play a final, it's an entirely different game because, after this game, there is a title. Energy and quality are both important for tomorrow. We need to play better, and we have to have a solid game in all aspects. We know each other, and the most important thing is to focus on".
The importance of winning the title: "I don't win, we win. We will try to win the title together. Basketball is a game, and from my experience, anything can happen. What is most important is for everyone to be safe during this pandemic. I wish everyone to be healthy and pass this economic crisis".
Jake Cohen, was asked about his feelings as Maccabi's captain: "Winning the third championship is my 100% focus right now, all of the other stuff is secondary. My goal is to win one more championship for the club".
Throughout the year, Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv played 7 pre-season matches, 3 "Winner" Cup contests, 28 EuroLeague fixtures, 24 domestic league games, and 4 Playoff matchups. It results in 58 official games and 68 total contests, including an extended corona break.
Maccabi Rishon Le' Zion gave Maccabi the most difficulty in the domestic league this year, holding a 2:2 record. The Tel Avivians won the first matchup 81:66 on the road and added a 75:64 victory in Menora Mictachim Arena. After the corona break, the Oranges came away with 92:90 and 86:77 triumphs.
In last year's final, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv beat Rishon Le' Zion 89:75. John DiBartolomeo excelled with 15 points, Scottie Wilbekin and DeAndre Kane each added 14, Tarik Black contributed 11, and Michael Roll tallied 10 points. On the opposing side, Darryl Monroe scored 22 points for the Oranges.
Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club achieved 53 championships and 105 official titles. Rishon Le' Zion will look to lift their second championship plate.