Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Maccabi Tel Aviv Wins European Championship

The Israeli team beat Spain’s Real Madrid in overtime 98-86, securing their 6th European championship

By: Daniel Koren

Published: May 18th, 2014 in Sports » Israel

Maccabi Tel Aviv Wins European Championship

Against all odds, Israel’s blue and white, or rather, yellow-and-blue uniformed members of Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Real Madrid in Milan Sunday, securing for the Israelis the European championship, their 6th overall.

The Israelis won in a dramatic high-stakes contest, in overtime no less, 98-86, in front of over 9,000 cheering fans donning yellow and blue, greatly outnumbering the Spanish fans who made it out to the championship game.

Their last three appearances in the finals – 2011, 2008, and 2006 – saw Israel failing to triumph, as they have in 1977, 1981, 2004, 2005, and now 2014.

The Israelis have now appeared in the European finals fifteen times.

“I’m so happy,” said David Blatt, head coach of the Tel Aviv team, after winning his first Euroleage title as head coach. “We have brought so much honor to the country and to Maccabi fans especially. We never wavered and I’m just so proud of everyone.”

Months ago, Maccabi weren’t expected to make it through the playoffs, let alone the finals, but the Tel Aviv squad managed to persevere, making it to the illustrious Final Four. In Friday’s exciting semi-final matchup with CSKA Moscow, the team came back from a fifteen-point deficit to take down the Russians.

While the consensus was that they couldn’t take down the Spaniards either, Blatt’s men silenced the critics yet again.

Tyrese Rich scored 14 of his 26 points in the extra five minutes to seal the game for Tel Aviv.

Deservedly, he was named the Final Four MVP.

Rich Hickman added 18 points for TLV, with Deven Smith contributing 15, David Blu 14, and Alex Tyus knocking down a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Sergio Rodriguez, the Euroleague 2014 MVP, led Real with 21 points.

The Jerusalem Post reports that President Shimon Peres congratulated Coach Blatt by phone following the game, and added that the dramatic game “gave him a heart attack.”

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