Last night (Thursday), Maccabi Tel Aviv completed a 55 victory in the national championship when they defeated Hapoel Gilboa / Galil 67:73 in the third and decisive game in the playoff final series of the Premier League. This was the Yellows’ fourth consecutive championship win, their longest streak since losing the Hapoel Holon championship in 2008.
At the end of the game and the hoisting of the plate by captain John Dibertolomao the players celebrated for long minutes with the fans filling the hand of Elijah. They then moved on to celebrate in the locker room as they traditionally pour water on each other and dance. Most of the team players went out of the hall to the fans to continue dancing with them and they ended the evening in the VIP room of Menora Mivtachim Hall and not in the traditional celebration at 206 restaurant, when several dozen fans waiting for them there were disappointed to find that the group remained in the hall.
“At the end of the day we play basketball, we are blessed, it’s amazing what we can do,” he said Angelo Cloiaro The happy one. “The day was amazing, it’s awful we didn’t win two games, but we got another game against our fans. Playing against them ended a long season and we finished with great fun. I really enjoyed it, I love playing basketball, it’s fun to win a championship against our fans.”
Ante Žižić Revealed and said: “From the first day we met I knew we would win the championship, we all came with the same mentality to win as many titles as possible. From the Winner’s Cup, through the National Cup to the Championship, we did a good job. I played the second game with painkillers and shots “It didn’t feel good, it’s over and you can not disappoint your teammates. I said I would give the maximum and the best I could. There was pressure, but I coped in the best way I could.”
2. Two who stole the show at the end of the game were Omri Caspi and Othello Hunter. The first admitted that he is considering retirement due to his physical condition and it is possible that last night’s game was the last in his career. The other told about the difficulties over the last season, and at the end seemed to stare at thoughts of what he had been through.
“No one will lie and say that we got from Omri in those two years what we dreamed of,” said one of the Maccabi men, “but in practice he is a man and he is a leader. He knew how to talk to the foreign players when the war started here a month ago, and kept the team in the existing structure. “We would have lost another player or two. So it’s true that in terms of basketball there are problems, but he gave his all.”
Caspi and Hunter have contracts with Maccabi next season, but even if Caspi decides not to retire, it is doubtful whether the team will keep him for another season, especially in the current contract. As for Hunter, a decision has already been made to release him and pay the compensation agreed in his contract.
“The end of Othello’s season, the last few months, have somewhat forgotten what a great player he is,” the club admitted. “We will remember from him the performances of last season. He is an extraordinary personality, a smart person and had an experience when he was here.”
3. On the other hand, on the floor Scotty Wilbkin won the MVP title of the final series. Despite his weak second half with just 3 points, the guard finished with 19 points the championship game and marked V for a long season. Wilbkin does not tend to celebrate excessively, and so this time too he made a quiet entrance to the party room.
“It was fun, the third game was more fun, the way we finished the season, I’m proud of my team. I’m glad we finished it that way, this difficult season. I just want to rest,” he said. Wilbkin. “I haven’t played game after game since college probably, and the energies came from the crowd. So many fans probably picked me up. Last season was the hardest, but this season was so long. I’m glad we can go home to rest and return to normal next season.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv want to adapt the assisting team better to Wilbkin next season, with Keenan Evans, who provided excellent ability at Hapoel Haifa this season, supposed to be the first reinforcement player to join and help the Yellows star.
4. Apart from Caspi and Hunter, it is very possible thatYuval Sussman Played his last game in the yellow uniform for the coming period. The guard ended his contract with Maccabi and did so in his good game with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Sussman is now a free agent, and in the near future he will decide whether to stay at Maccabi and accept an offer that is expected to reach a three-year contract, or leave for Europe.
“I do not think about it, this is not the time to talk about it, when the time comes we will talk about it,” the Israeli refused to comment on his future during the winning celebrations and talked about the team’s season. “Winner’s Cup is less considered but it is also a title, there is no great sense of satisfaction from a season that felt like a decade, you have to clear your head and come to the next season in a different head. This is a season that just did not want to end. No pressure, we do what we love, we make a living “The one who flies us to places we did not expect to be. I do not see it as pressure, maybe there are some that do. We get paid for what we like, there is no such thing as pressure.”
Maccabi estimates that in the end Yuval Sussman will choose to extend his contract: “Yuval should look in the mirror and see that he gets the opportunity that players dream of. If he leaves, probably for a less good situation, it will look strange.”
5. From this afternoon, the team’s players will start leaving Israel. Some will return during the month of August to open training for next season, some will continue to another station in their careers. “I hope to stay, this is my home here, there are things to think about, whatever happens I will accept it, but I love being here,” the captain said. John Dibertolomao“I just want to have fun, it was a very long season, with a lot of challenges on and off the field, the fact that we won all the titles in Israel is great for us and I am proud of my friends.”
Angelo Cloiaro also admitted that he would like to continue in the team, as like Dibertolomao he holds a contract: “I look at it as basketball, we play basketball, I am blessed no matter what happens. I am lucky to have my wife and now my daughter who could get to her first game “I’m just having fun,” the forward said of the changes in his life and the past year. “The corona put things in perspective and then my daughter put things in a different perspective, she’s my world. Enjoy more, the pressure goes down, because there are things that are more important than basketball.”
Assisted in the preparation of the article: Ohad Schwerman