Malta Basketball Association

BUPA Luxol : 2017 BOV Division 1 Men Champions

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 proud of the team, especially of Keith Dimech and Jean-Paul Schembri who were outstanding throughout the playoffs. On a personal note,
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.’

Full list of League Honours: malta-basketball-association-league-champions-div-1

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