Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv's title quest proceeds on Sunday as they'll host Hapoel Eilat (21:00, Live on Sport5 - Channel 55) in Menora Mivtachim Arena in Game 1 of the Israeli Winner League Semifinals series. The Yellow & Blue come off a clean 2:0 series win over Hapoel Be'er Sheva while Beit Halachmi's group performed the same sweeping Hapoel Haifa.
Giannis Sfairopoulos's coaching staff made one change to the 12 man roster from the Quarterfinals series, adding Othello Hunter in place of Dragan Bender, who, as recalled, finished the season after tearing his ACL in the first game of the Be'er Sheva series. The roster features Scottie Wilbekin, T.J Cline, Chris Jones, Angelo Caloiaro, Othello Hunter, Sandy Cohen, Omri Casspi, John DiBartolomeo, Oz Blayzer, Dori Sahar, Ante Zizic, and Yovel Zoosman.
On the other end, Hapoel Eilat, under head coach Ariel Beit Halachmi, had a great regular season, finishing in fourth place with an 18:11 record. Both sides met three times this season, Maccabi came on top 2:1 in those matchups. In their latest contest in the top division, the Yellow & Blue dominated the southern squad 95:72 as Tyler Dorsey led the scorers with 20 points, Scottie Wilbekin contributed 17, and Ante Zizic and Angelo Caloarioadded 14 points each.
"We are expecting a difficult series against a formidable opponent that was in the top throughout the regular season and won cleanly their last series", Stated head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos about the southern opponent, who later added about the importance of the fans going into the series. "We fought all season long to own home-court advantage during the playoffs, and now in the semifinals, it's time to gain power from it".
"I'd like to call out to all of our fans, come to the arena on Sunday and support us as together we will fight for the victory. For many months, the Coronavirus separated us. We missed feeling our fans close to us, and in the State Cup final, we saw the importance of having them with us. Now it's time to get those roaring sounds back to Yad Eliyahu".