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May 19, 2014 12:11 am

Israel’s Maccabi Electra Becomes Europe’s New Basketball Champions

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

Team Maccabi. Photo: Euroleague Website.

MILAN – For 10,000 Israeli fans that filled the Mediolanum Forum Arena in Milan, Italy, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv’s win against Spain’s Real Madrid was a sweet victory.

The championship game hit overtime with the final score 98-86, as Israel managed to cement a solid lead in the final five minutes of the game. This is Maccabi Tel Aviv’s sixth Euroleague championship title in the club’s history, with the last one won in 2005.

After a thrilling and unexpected victory against Russia’s CSKA Moscow by just one point on Friday night in the Euroleague Final Four, Israel managed to surprise fans again on Sunday night, after defeating the highly favored Real Madrid.  Tel Aviv’s scoring was led by Guard Tyrese Rice with 26  points.

Israeli American coach David Blatt described Israel’s position in an interview before the Real Madrid game: “if I’m not mistaken, David was an underdog against Goliath.”

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President Shimon Peres called Coach Blatt right after the game ended to congratulate him, jokingly saying that the intense game almost gave him a heart attack.

“The entire country is in yellow,” said the 90-year-old Peres, referring to Maccabi’s blue and yellow colored uniforms. The official Euroleage website described Milan as being decked in yellow as well following the Maccabi win.

“I’m so happy. We have brought so much honor to the country and to Maccabi fans especially. We never wavered and I’m so proud of everyone,” said a very pleased Coach Blatt.

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