Hapoel Jerusalem showed character once again last night (Monday) when they came back from a double-digit deficit in the Arena on the way to a 73:77 victory over Hapoel Haifa in the semifinals of the State Cup, and returned to the finals for the first time in three years, where they will wait for the Reds of Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Sharon Drucker's trainees looked great and even led in the match for 36 and a half minutes of play, but the Jerusalemites led by Noam Yaakov, Zach Hankins and Iti Segev once again made a great comeback in the last quarter, which they won 12:24.
Noam Yaakov, who was one of the heroes of the victory, produced a wonderful game with 11 points, 3 rebounds and a lot of confidence in the game, something that was reflected in taking responsibility in the final minutes.
The talented guard is praised from wall to wall in the club and there are already those who are thinking about next year and wish to keep him as the face of the club in the future.
The center back has a contract for another season in the French Villerban from where he was loaned to the capital, but it is not impossible that if Jacob realizes that his place in the senior team of the French club is not guaranteed next season, he may stay in the capital.
Satisfied only with the result, photo: Alan Shiver
"I said all along that Hapoel Haifa is a great team, they deserved to win here. In this type of game, the opponent must not be allowed to score 26 points in a quarter. I did not like our energy and our performance in defense. If we play like this in the final, we will not be able to win," noted Alexander Dzikitz ' at the end.
The club felt that last night's victory was to close a circle for them.
Three years since the team won its last title - the State Cup for 2020, and after difficult years due to the corona virus and the change of ownership, the professional team and the avenue of management, last night the team felt that their team was back in a big way and returned to compete for titles in final games, something they marked as a goal at the beginning of the season.
Jerusalem will have a hard time keeping him for another season, photo: Alan Shiver
Although the season is still in progress, the Reds are interested, as a lesson, in starting the preparations for the next season at an early stage and will emphasize continuity and identity in the squad.
"Israel Hayom" learned for the first time that in addition to the desire to extend Dzikic's contract, in the coming weeks the team is expected to submit contract extension proposals to Iti Segev and Or Cornelius, who are out of contract at the end of the season and are highly valued in the club, on and off the field.
The team is also interested in exercising the option on Zach Hankins, but the player is expected to attract a lot of interest in the summer from senior teams and the fight to keep him is not expected to be easy.
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