Kristine L Ming

Mac TA set to tip off in Chicago, NY

Maccabi Tel Aviv arrived in the US in an upbeat mood on Tuesday after extending its perfect preseason with a win over Hapoel Eilat in the Winner Cup final a day earlier.

Maccabi improved to 7-0 this summer with the 87-80 victory over Eilat after previously also claiming the Pro Stars tournament in Angers, France.

The yellow-and-blue is expected to face its sternest test of the preseason in the US when it comes up against Euroleague rival Olimpia Milano at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday, with the sides facing off once more three days later at Madison Square Garden in New York.

It will be the first time ever that two Euroleague teams play against each other in two preseason games on North American soil.

“Americans know their basketball, which is precisely why we are sure they will like what they see of the Euroleague’s unique style of play,” said Euroleague Basketball President and CEO Jordi Bertomeu.

Maccabi General Manager Danny Federman said the club is thrilled to add another exciting chapter to its long history of play in the US.

“We always see thousands of our fans come out to our games in the US, as was the case last October when we played in Brooklyn against the Nets and in Cleveland against the Cavs.

We’re happy to present a chance for American basketball fans, Maccabi fans, and the strong Jewish-American communities in New York and Chicago to see us in their hometowns.”

Palestinians knocked out of Asian championships Elsewhere, the Palestine national team’s surprise run at the FIBA Asia Championship came to an end on Tuesday with a 94-48 defeat to Iran in Changsha, China. The Palestinian roster was assembled mainly from players born abroad, with the team including three Canadians of Palestinian origin, as well as several American-born players.

The Palestinians, who are guided by American coach Jerry Steele, finished third at the WABA Championship in Amman, Jordan, earlier this year to clinch a spot in the FIBA Asia Championship for the first time.

The Palestinians opened the tournament in China with three straight wins to advance to the second round. However, defeats to India, Japan and Iran ended the team’s hopes of reaching the quarterfinals and sent the team to the games that will determine who will place 9th to 12th in the tournament.

Ramallah native Sani Sakakini led the team with 13 points on Tuesday, averaging 21.5 points and 12.2 rebounds in the tournament. The Minnesota- born Jamal Abu-Shamala is the team’s second star, averaging 20.5 points and 8.2 rebounds.

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