The first quarterfinal of the BCL Final Eight will see Hapoel Jerusalem square off against San Pablo Burgos, at 17:30 CET.
Hapoel Jerusalem roster: http://www.championsleague.basketball/19-20/team/Hapoel-Bank-Yahav-Jerusalem#|tab=roster
San Pablo Burgos roster: http://www.championsleague.basketball/19-20/team/San-Pablo-Burgos#|tab=roster
Oded Kattash, Hapoel Jerusalem:
“It’s always fun for me to be in Athens. Congrats to the BCL for giving all the 8 teams a chance to finish last season. We are lucky to have this organization, this is very important for our club.”
“We already played against Burgos, obviously we know each other. We have some new faces so it will be a little bit different. They have a little bit of advantage because they already started their league, so we miss 2-3 weeks of preparation. I think there are no big favorites, we have to be ready mentally. I’m sure we will have to bring our A game to win.”
“Nikos Pappas is an high-level player, with a lot of experience. Unfortunately he was injured a lot. The management did a great job in reacting quick and adding a big player like Nikos to our team in time for the Final Eight. I can’t predict how much he will help us, he only practiced 4-5 times with us.”
Joan Peñarroya, San Pablo Burgos:
“We are happy to be here. It’s our first experience in Europe, to play this Final Eight is wonderful for our fans, especially with the bad situation they are all living. Our illusion is to play well and to win the games.
“On the other side, we did start our season earlier but we couldn’t scout them, since they have yet to start their league while they could do it with us. I don’t see any favorites either, we’ll have to see.”
“It’s important to have experienced players in our team, like Omar Cook, Benite and others. They played big games in the past so they know how to approach these games.”
J’Covan Brown, Hapoel Jerusalem:
“We are enjoying the experience, we came here early to relax and get ready. Hopefully we will come out with a win.”
“I’m not able to play tomorrow, possibly for the next 2 months. I’m always positive and I want to be here to lend my hand to my teammates and push them to their limits. We had a limited amount of preparation, but things happen in basketball, so you don’t get down and you have to stay motivated. It was a wonderful journey last season – these guys have to learn that it’s all because of what we did last year.”
“Our offense is great because we stay in attack mode. Our coach’s mindset is to let us play free, everybody has their role in the team and he wants us to play together, stay together and play in attack mode. Never second-guess ourselves and enjoy this game together.”
Vitor Benite, San Pablo Burgos:
“I think it’s a pleasure to play such an important tournament for a player. It’s different to do it at the start of the season, but we are excited to enjoy this moment. We want to remember all the players that were with us last season and helped us to get here, like Bruno, Augusto and many others. It’s nice to be here, you get some great games to start the season. The team is ready, as much as we can at this moment.”
“We played 3 games in our league but we still have to find our rhythm. When you play against a team with so many talented and experienced players, you know that you may have an advantage for the first 2-3 minutes, but in the end if you’re not focused for 40 minutes, those 3 games will not matter much against an amazing team, in my opinion.”
“Bringing the trophy back to our fans is the main goal, they always cheering for us even when we are losing. For the city and for the club this would be not only history, but something from another world. We hope we can give them this happiness, but we have to go step by step.”
Facts and stats
– Hapoel captain J’Covan Brown will be sidelined through injury for at least two months, so he will not play at the Final 8 although he is in Athens with his teammates.
– Burgos have already played three official games in September, in the Spanish Liga Endesa. In their latest outing on Sunday they beat Acunsa GBC 90-77 on the road, behind 22 points from Thad McFadden and 17 from Ken Horton. On the other hand, this Quarter-Final will be Hapoel’s first official game since the conclusion of the 2019-20 Israeli league season in August.
– This is the only Quarter-Finals pairing that features two teams which were in the same Regular Season group. Each team won its home game, albeit Burgos scored exactly 91 points in both games. The Spanish team won the Gameday 6 clash 91-84 and Hapoel prevailed 96-91 on Gameday 12.
– This is the second time Hapoel reach the Quarter-Finals and the second time they face a Spanish team at this stage. The Israeli team lost to Iberostar Tenerife in 2018-19 and the Spanish went on to reach the Final.
– Hapoel led the league this season in scoring, two-point field goal percentage and free-throw percentage. The Jerusalem team averaged 89 points per game, shot at 60.6 percent from within the arc and 81.4 percent from the free-throw line. Hapoel were also joint-leaders in blocked shots, averaging 3.9 blocks per game
– Burgos led the league in made three-pointers in their maiden BCL campaign, averaging 11.4 made triples per game. The Spanish team also led the league in scoring off the bench, as their second unit players averaged 41.8 points per game.
– Hapoel forward TaShawn Thomas leads the league in field goal percentage, as he shot 72.1 percent from the floor on average. Thomas scored a BCL career-high 27 points in Hapoel’s win over Burgos in January.
– Vitor Benite of Burgos scored at least 20 points in five of his last nine BCL games before the hiatus, his best stretch in the competition. The Brazilian international had only two 20-point games in his first 20 appearances in the league. In his last four BCL games, Benite made 100 percent of his free-throws (16 of 16) and 57 percent of his attempted three-pointers (16 of 28) averaging 21.5 points per game in that span.