Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv returns to their State Cup journey on Thursday evening as they'll face Hapoel Holon in the tournament's Semifinals (21:10, Live on Sport5 - Channel 55). The Yellow & Blue, who haven't won the cup since 2017, will attempt to take one step closer to the club's 45th domestic trophy versus Holon, who seeks to win their third cup.
Maccabi and Holon matched up twice this season, and both tight contests delivered a high-level of play. The Purples came on top in the Israeli Winner League, but in the Winner Cup Finals, Giannis Sfairopoulos's squad didn't miss the chance to capture its first title of the season with an 86:84 victory.
"Even though we lifted back-to-back championship titles since I took over at Maccabi, we didn't win the State Cup, and for us, it's an excellent opportunity to fight for this trophy", Said head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos at the pre-game press conference. "Maccabi always has the motivation to win as many trophies as possible because winning is the D.N.A of the club".
"Still, it's not always possible because we have very good opponents, and as we all know, the cup is the competition of surprises, and each team has 25% to win it all. Tomorrow we need to be very concentrated, play our game, stick to the plan and follow it against Holon, a team we respect after playing them twice this season".
"I never take it personally", answered Sfairopoulos about individually not winning the cup as a Maccabi coach. "My philosophy is, clubs are more potent than the persons representing it. The clubs will be here for years to come, while individuals move all the time. The sport's protagonists are the players, not the coaches, but I'll always do what's best for the club".
"We had two tight clashes against Holon this season, with great offensive displays by both clubs, and I expect that on Thursday", Said Yovel Zoosman towards the matchup. "Each game is different, the games against them are in the past, and other than learning from them, there isn't much we can take out of them. We will try to stop them on a low score and play to our strengths and weaknesses while bringing out our energies and aggressiveness".