Athleta had to play extra-time before staving off the bold Depiro challenge and earn themselves another tilt at the title.
Depiro had their chances but in the end they paid the price for inconsistent play to go 2-1 down in the semi-final play-offs.
Athleta captain Michael Naudi (193-G/F-80) was back in fine form and shooter Steve Schembri coming to life in the decisive moments.
For Depiro, Shawn Morgan (198-GF-86, college: Arkansas St.) was well marked but he has to take some of the blame for a couple of easy pots which he failed to tuck in.
After a balanced start, Athleta opened a slight lead which they held till the end of the first quarter.
Depiro could not have had a better start to the second session as they potted 16 consecutive points.
Athleta coach Joe Galea called a time-out. This helped his team to surpass a difficult moment and at half-time Athleta were only trailing 34-35.
The start of the third quarter was marred by mistakes from both teams.
Morgan was struggling to lift his team in attack and Athleta profited to start the last ten minutes six points ahead, 48-42. They seemed to be in control but lost Naudi for his fifth foul, whistled in attack.
Athleta lost their plot and Depiro closed the gap to three points 61-58.
With less than 20 seconds left, David Bugeja, formerly of Depiro, committed his fifth foul besides a technical for protests. Depiro lost the first free-throw but levelled with the next three, 61-61.
With 14 seconds left, Depiro had possession but when Morgan decided to release Vella, he was forced to shoot from outside the zone. Vellas shot hit the ring and out to the relief of Athleta.
There was nothing to separate the teams in extra-time as excite-ment grew with the contestants still in close contact.
Morgan continued to fire blanks though and Athleta regained the lead through a Schembri basket.
Depiro had the last possession but Abraham Portelli was dis-possessed as he tried to drive through. Schembri potted the two free-throws that followed to put his team in the final.
Athleta: M. Naudi 13, S. Hagul, D. Bugeja 10, M. Todorovic 13, M. Giusti, E. Bezzina, O. Said 8, S. Pace, K. Baldacchino 5, W. Spiteri, S. Bischoff, S. Schembri 22.
Depiro: R. Vella 8, K. Kuns, A. Aquilina 14, A. Portelli 15, D. Agius 4, E. Lupo, M. Mallia 1, I. Tanti 8, S. Morgan 17.
Referees: G. Barbara, C. Terribile, T. Brown.
Floriana Francesco Fenech 79 Siggiewi 56
(16-12, 26-12, 15-14, 22-18)
Floriana took control right from the opening minutes of this match and never looked back to book their place in the final for the first time in 35 years after completing a 2-1 win over Siggiewi in the best-of-three semi-final series.
Floriana were a better team than in the previous match with playmaker Chris Sammut and forward Bevan Scott Camilleri leading their charge.
Siggiewi had sharp shooters Chris Meier and Marco Matijevic in subdued mode and unable to repeat their fine showing from Game Two.
Siggiewi potted the first six points but Floriana soon settled down on court to take control of play.
With their opponents rather slow in attack, the Greens continued to build on their lead and at half-time victory already seemed to be in their bags as they led 42-24.
Siggiewi tried hard to get back in the match after the interval and managed to put Floriana in difficulty. But after narrowing the gap, they started to hurry their shots and mistakes followed.
In fact, from a ten-point deficit, 48-38, Siggiewi started the last ten minutes 19 points behind, 57-38.
Siggiewi looked a dejected lot and with five minutes left, Floriana held a 20-point lead 67-47.
After losing Eman Xuereb, fouled out, Siggiewi had to play the last couple of minutes with four players on court as Alan Borg also had to leave as he was slapped with a technical foul for persistent protests.
Floriana: A. Baldacchino, B. Scott Camilleri 18, D. Camilleri 2, M. Glass 26, C. Sammut 14, I. Mercieca 6, C. Calleja 4, D. Schembri 9, S. Saakian.
Siggiewi: N. Falzon, P. Shoults 13, E. Xuereb 4, A. Borg 11, C. Meier 13, A. Fekete 1, M. Matijevic 14.
Referees: G. Barbara, E. Mangani, T. Brown.
BOV League final (Game 1): Saturday, 16.30 Floriana vs Athleta. Courtesy of: http://www.timesofmalta.com
BOV League Division 1 Men 2017 Finals Series Game 3 BUPA Luxol 84 Floriana MCP Car Parks 71 (25-12, 22-16, 23-18, 14-25) Luxol: CJ Cordina 3, M. Mercieca 3, M. Sjoberg, J. Maistre, JP Schembri 17, K. Dimech 10, W. Ahlberg 3, P. Cumpstone 21, S. Deguara 27, S. Cappello Floriana: C. Patus 13, D. Schembri 25, S. Borg 11, D. Agius, N. Vasovic 6, C. Calleja, A. Axiaq 11, A. Micallef Trigona 2, N. Andrejevic 4 Referees: G. Barbara, E. Mangani, I. Simic BUPA Luxol made it a clean sweep in th... [read more]
BOV League Division 1 Men 2017 Finals Series Game 3
BUPA Luxol 84 Floriana MCP Car Parks 71 (25-12, 22-16, 23-18, 14-25) Luxol: CJ Cordina 3, M. Mercieca 3, M. Sjoberg, J. Maistre, JP Schembri 17, K. Dimech 10, W. Ahlberg 3, P. Cumpstone 21, S. Deguara 27, S. Cappello Floriana: C. Patus 13, D. Schembri 25, S. Borg 11, D. Agius, N. Vasovic 6, C. Calleja, A. Axiaq 11, A. Micallef Trigona 2, N. Andrejevic 4 Referees: G. Barbara, E. Mangani, I. Simic
BUPA Luxol made it a clean sweep in this year's BOV League play-off stage when after a 3-0 series won in the semi-final stage against Gzira Athleta, the violets continued with three straight wins in the finals series against Floriana MCP Car Parks.
Thus Luxol retuned on the champions podium for the thirteenth time in history, eight years after their last success in 2009 when that year they had beaten Sliema (today Gzira Athleta) 2-0 in the finals.
Continuing from their big win in game 2, Luxol were quick to establish a good early lead.
The first moments of this third final were a bit clumsy and the first bucket came after two minutes through a long distance shot from Jean-Paul Schembri (182-G-92).
Floriana, who were featuring in the third final series in the last five years managing also to win the league in 2013, did have a reply at this stage and a Sean Borg (177-PG-92) hoop followed by a Nikola Vasovic (180-PG-92) trey gave them the only lead in the game, 5-3, after three minutes.
In the next six minutes Luxol struck in a solid manner as a Keith Dimech (178-F-00) 3-pointer set them off on an important 19-2 run with Samuel Deguara (223-C-91) starting to contribute offensive points with a number of free throws and Schembri hitting two consecutive treys. The same player remained on the mark as he had another two treys at the start of the second period and then, with Deguara and Pierce Cumpstone (203-F-94, college: Stonehill) finding more space to bang in their points, Luxol extended their lead to 44-20 after 18 minutes of play.
Led positively by William Ahlberg, who had a quiet day in shooting but finished with six assists, Luxol searched to feed the ball more to Deguara after the interval and the local giant made use of his towering height and helped his side to have a further run, this time 9-0, as the margin increased to a maximum of 62-34 midway in the third quarter.
Deguara's fourth foul and subsequent bench time spurred Floriana to put in a reaction and led by Chad Patus (203-F-87, college: Belm.Abbey) and another offensive first rate performance from Dirk Schembri (193-F-85), they started somewhat gnawing slowly into the margin, especially when early in the last quarter the greens had their best moment in the game with 19-2 run that led them to a 65-74 score.
Deguara, who had re-entered in the game earlier, fouled out with three minutes to go and a Patus hoop had Floriana just 8 points away, 69-77.
Yet, with the greens failing to score in their next couple of plays, Pierce Cumpstone took all the responsibility and six personal points ascertained Luxol's third series victory and the thirteenth league crown.
At the end of the match, Bank of Valletta's Chief Officer Peter Perotti and the MBA president Paul Sultana, presented the winning medals to the BUPA Luxol players and technical staff, the Most Valuable Player award for the finals series to Samuel Deguara and finally handed the 2017 BOV League trophy to Luxol's captain Marco Mercieca (184-PG-83).
What they said:
Chad Patus (Floriana): 'the finals were an intense physical battle, just like we expected.
Luxol came really together well this season, especially after Samuel joined them.
Each of their players found a role that would, in some way, benefit the team and this made them a very difficult team to match up against.
We fought hard and I really want to thank my team mates for the effort but we should also tip our hats to Luxol who won the league.'
Marco Mercieca (Luxol): 'I am obviously thrilled to bring back the league to Luxol after a number of years.
It was a tough season, especially at the beginning, but following the arrival of Samuel, thanks to the efforts of the club president Edgar Caruana Montaldo, changed the team camaraderie completely and we had a great 2017 which was capped with a 6-0 playoff run.
I am glad to win my 5th personal league honour to end my career on a high.'
John Tabone (Luxol): 'this championship was a deserved achievement at the end, yet it was somewhat unexpected at the beginning of the season.
Our fortunes took a boost during Christmas when our President Edgar Caruana Montaldo managed to re-sign Samuel Deguara with the club. This was an important twist in our favour as it changed Luxol from a mediocre side trying to make the Play offs final 4 into a potential championship team. And what a Championship team it turned out to be. One of the most complete side we ever had at LUXOL. Every department was filled up to perfection.
With the trio of Deguara, Cumpstone and Ahlberg our game became more secure and spectacular, both on offence and most of all on defence. They guided us all throughout the Semis and more importantly during the finals.
Special mention to our captain Marco Mercieca for his continuous support, to Keith Dimech, our sixteen year old darling, who was a delight to watch as he committed himself to the team like a seasoned senior and to Jean-Paul Schembri who played an important role with his longrange shots. CJ Cordina, Stefan Cappello and Jamie Maistre Melillo were also important for our final success their commitment to the team and to our under 23 side which together with Keith Dimech and Pierce Cumpstone were also crowned the under 23 league Champions.'
BUPA Luxol were yesterday crowned Malta basketball champions for the 13th time in the club's history after defeating Floriana MCP Car Parks 84-71 to seal the final play-off series 3-0. This was Luxol's first championship crown after an absence of eight years. Samuel Deguara(223-C-91) was again the protagonist for John Tabone's Luxol yesterday as the towering pivot was the game's leading scorer with 27 points. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the final series. Courtesy of: timesofm... [read more]
BUPA Luxol were yesterday crowned Malta basketball champions for the 13th time in the club's history after defeating Floriana MCP Car Parks 84-71 to seal the final play-off series 3-0. This was Luxol's first championship crown after an absence of eight years. Samuel Deguara (223-C-91) was again the protagonist for John Tabone's Luxol yesterday as the towering pivot was the game's leading scorer with 27 points. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the final series. Courtesy of: timesofmalta.com
Bank of Valletta 2017 Finals Series Game 1 BUPA Luxol 80 Floriana MCP Car Parks 72 (16-18, 24-13, 20-15, 20-26) Luxol: CJ Cordina, M. Mercieca, M. Sjoberg, J. Maistre , JP Schembri 11, K. Dimech 7, W. Ahlberg 12, P. Cumpstone 16, S. Deguara 28, S. Cappello 6 Floriana: C. Patus 34, D. Schembri 11, S. Borg, D. Agius, N. Vasovic 18, C. Calleja 2, A. Axiaq 2, A. Micallef 5, N. Andrejevic Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, I. Simic BUPA Luxol continued on their play-offs winning streak by r... [read more]
Bank of Valletta 2017 Finals Series
BUPA Luxol 80 Floriana MCP Car Parks 72 (16-18, 24-13, 20-15, 20-26) Luxol: CJ Cordina, M. Mercieca, M. Sjoberg, J. Maistre , JP Schembri 11, K. Dimech 7, W. Ahlberg 12, P. Cumpstone 16, S. Deguara 28, S. Cappello 6 Floriana: C. Patus 34, D. Schembri 11, S. Borg, D. Agius, N. Vasovic 18, C. Calleja 2, A. Axiaq 2, A. Micallef 5, N. Andrejevic Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, I. Simic
BUPA Luxol continued on their play-offs winning streak by registering a win against Floriana in the first game of the 2017 BOV Finals.
The greens did try to offer a stern challenge and had their good moments in the game, although Luxol managed to open a considerable double digit lead in the third quarter, only for Floriana to pull up their socks once again and managing to come quite close.
The finals got off with sharp long distance shooting from Luxol as four different players managed to respectively score early from downtown. In fact, import player Pierce Cumpstone (203-F-94, college: Stonehill), local foreigner William Ahlberg (91) and local youngsters Jean-Paul Schembri (182-G-92) and Keith Dimech (178-F-00) were all precise from behind the 6.75 metre arc.
However Floriana were not overawed and were also notching up their early points led by Canadian Chad Patus (203-F-87, college: Belm.Abbey) who had eight personal points, including two treys. Shorly afterwards Floriana also managed to take the lead after a Dirk Schembri (193-F-85) close range basket and this marginal lead was maintained till the end of the first quarter, 18-16.
Luxol started winning the defensive boards in the second quarter and had their towering pivot Samuel Deguara (223-C-91) more in the action and they overturned the score with a 13-2 run. Despite Floriana's treys from Patus and Nikola Vasovic (180-PG-92), who both played all throughout the match, there was still a nine point margin between the two finalists at the interval, 40-31.
Luxol maintained their tempo when play resumed and led by their trio Cumpstone, Deguara and Ahlberg, who all were on the court for the whole 40 minutes of playing time, they had another positive run, this time 14-2, to open a hefty plus twenty lead, 54-33.
Floriana did not throw in the towel and they retorted with nine consecutive points, managing also to bring down some offensive rebounds and the margin came down to 60-46 at the end of the third quarter.
The last quarter produced the most points of the lot. Floriana put in a good effort to try to claw back into the game and were momentarily managing to find their way to the opponents' basket and an 11-2 mid-quarter run moved the greens closer to their adversaries. However Luxol did not let the game slip away and obtained some important hoops and controlled the final moments of the game.
Game 2 of this best-of-five Finals series will be played tomorrow at 7.30pm.
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