Bank of Valletta Men
Semi-Final Series Game 5
Cynergi Depiro 62 Floriana MCP Car Parks 63
(17-19, 17-18, 10-9, 18-17)
Depiro: N. Grech, D. Bugeja 19, R. Bonnici 5, D. Schembri, A. Aquilina 7, DJ Mason 18, T. Zammit, M. Mallia, S. Sammut, K. Xuereb 8, M. Borg, D. Scafidi 5
Floriana: C. Patus 23, D. Schembri 10, D. Agius, N. Vasovic 13, C. Calleja 2, A. Axiaq 13, A. Micallef Trigona, N. Andrejevic 2
Referees: B. Vassallo, G. Barbara, I. Simic
This semi-final series went down to the wire as the crucial fifth game was needed to determine the second 2017 BOV league finalist.
The game was practically a tit-for-tat affair with both sides changing leads numerous times.
Floriana were the better scoring team off the tip-off as Anton Axiaq and Nikola Vasovic combined for an early 6-2 lead.
However Depiro, who had to do without centre Alvaro Quiros, found their mark with three long distance shots from Andrew Aquilina, Dominic Scafidi and David Bugeja respectively to pounce in the lead for the first time.
Chad Patus came to Floriana’s rescue at this stage with ten consecutive points, including two treys although Depiro were still at par with DJ Mason netting from close range.
More Mason points helped Depiro take an early second quarter lead at 22-19 only for the greens to retort with an 8-2 run in the mid-part of the same quarter with points also from Dirk Schembri and Nikola Andrejevic for a 30-26 score.
In the last minute before the interval Kurt Xuereb had two quick hoops for Depiro to make it again a one-point game.
The third quarter was another balanced affair even if it was the lowest scoring of the lot.
Robert Bonnici’s and Mason’s treys for Depiro were neutralized at the other end through Axiaq and Schembri, although another Bonnici hoop made it a 42-42 rubber after that Vasovic had converted a single free throw after a bench technical foul against Depiro.
Depiro had a positive streak at the start of the last quarter after Aquilina immediately gave them the lead after an early trey and then two consecutive shots from downtown from Bugeja placed them 55-51 ahead forcing Floriana to call a time-out with five minutes to go.
When play resumed Floriana reacted and had two Schembri close range hoops.
Everything was set for the final decisive minutes as the lead alternated a number of times.
Patus overturned, albeit momentarily, the score in the greens’ favour but two minutes later Aquilina had one free throw from two and helped Depiro go 60-58 in the lead with slightly more than one minute to go.
Patus had two foul-bonus free throws and then converted a free throw off a technical foul called against Mason in the last minute, with the latter also having to leave the court on five fouls.
Depiro quickly replied and had the lead, 62-61, after a Bugeja hoop but at the other end, Patus was fouled and did not miss the resultant two free throws.
Depiro had the last possession coming out of a time-out but Bugeja missed the mark from mid range and Scafidi not being able to convert quickly off the resultant rebound in the last second amidst protests from the Depiro clan allegedly claiming a foul on the same American player.
Thus the final buzzer had Floriana with a minimal one point win and making their way to the finals where they will face BUPA Luxol who had, earlier in the month, ousted Gzira Athleta in the other semi-final. The BOV Men final series will commence on Saturday and will also be decided on a best-of-five format.