reports: It was an unpredictable situation for one of the dominant teams in Euroleague history. Five years had passed since the last time Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv faced a losing record halfway through a Euroleague regular season. Entering this month, however, the team sat next-to-last in Group A with a 2-3 record and only five more regular season games left. Three weeks later, to the delight of Maccabi’s fans, predictability has returned. Maccabi not only is qualified early for the Top 16, but also ready to challenge for first place. Plenty thanks for that turnaround go to forward Lior Eliyahu, Euroleague Basketball’s choice as December MVP. Just when Maccabi needed a go-to guy, Eliyahu became just that, posting three consecutive double-doubles to lead Maccabi to a trio of huge wins. Eliyahu started the month by pulling off the highest performance index rating all season in a victory over then co-leader Cibona. He followed that with almost identical double-doubles in points and rebounds to spark Maccabi’s first road wins of the season, at Air Avellino and Le Mans. In the process, Eliyahu vaulted to top-ten status among all Euroleague players in index rating, scoring and rebounding. Most importantly, however, Eliyahu helped put Maccabi back in its accustomed place as a Euroleague contender, and in so doing made himself a more-than-deserving choice as MVP of December.