It is playoff time, and the Israeli derby is here once again as the reigning champs, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv will face Hapoel in a best of five series starting this Thursday (21:00, local). The crew in yellow and blue has started to count the minutes until the tipoff and they are locked and loaded on the final goal of the season: retaining their championship.
"I think that it's nice that the league has a Tel Aviv derby in the playoffs" said coach Sfairopoulos. It'll give the sport another push. The most important thing is that the games will be good and that we will judge them by the players, I hope that there will be no violence in these games and that we will talk about sports because it is the most important thing". Coach Giannis also added: "Let's protect the sport that we love".
"It starts as a team, just channeling our focus to the basketball part”, said Michael Roll. “There’s going to be a lot of nonsense that goes on around the court and we need to try and ignore it and any aggression that might come we need to channel it into things that we need to do and focus on the basketball part. We don’t need extra motivation right now, it’s the playoffs, it’s May; we know what time it is and it’s time for us to come in here and take care of business and it’s what we’ve been practicing for the whole year playing all these games. We’re motivated we don’t need extra motivation, now its money time and we do it to have fun and do it".
"It’s been a long season a roller coaster of a season”, said Tarik Black ahead of the first playoff game versus Hapoel Tel Aviv. “Through ups and downs, pivots and changes - we’ve all stuck through together so that’s essentially what it was all about. I think there were some outside varies that played to those matches going that way but we’re prepared for the future, we get prepared for what’s in front of us right now and we’re going to come out and do what we do. We’re all professional basketball players and I am up to believe that there is a line that needs to be respected amongst men and amongst basketball a thing that we do for a living that should not be crossed but at the same time we’re in the last leg of the season going towards the championship and with that being said that’s the most important part of the season right now and that’s what matters the most is finishing this thing off, we’ve worked so hard to get to this place, we fought hard that we’re not going to compromise is it now that we’re at the finish line and we can run this through we’re going to finish it strong".