BOV Division 1 Men Semi Final Play-Offs Game 1
BOV National League – Men 1 Div. P/O S/F 1
Gzira Athleta 61 Bupa Luxol 81
(26-18, 9-30, 10-23, 16-10)
Gzira Athleta: M. Naudi 11, R. Vella 1, D. Camilleri 12, M. Williams 12, P. Shoults 13, F. Mifsud Bonnici, B. Zammit 10, L. Stefanovic, S. Vincic, M. Gauci Montaldo, J. Whitehead 2
Luxol: CJ Cordina 6, M. Mercieca, M. Sjoberg, D. Meli, J. Maistre, JP Schembri 17, K. Dimech 2, W. Ahlberg 9, P. Cumpstone 30, S. Deguara 17, S. Cappello
Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, I. Simic
BUPA Luxol opened up the series against their arch rivals Gzira Athleta with a hefty 20 point win thus takign the first psychological lead in the five game series.
The game had various facets although Luxol’s 21-3 in the central 8 minutes of the third period was a highly influential factor in the game.
Gzira Athleta had a dream start netting seven consecutive shots from downtown with David Camilleri on fire with four treys, aided with a brace of similar long distance shots from Peter Shoults and another from Michael Naudi.
In these early minutes, Luxol’s reply came from Samuel Deguara who used his height advantage with clsoe range baskets and 3-pointers from Pierce Cumpstone and Jean Paul Schembri.
Late free throws from Naudi and Brit Morakinyo Williams, who came off the bench to counter Deguara in height, helped Gzira Athleta to end the first quarter 26-18 ahead.
The lead changed hands midway in the second quarter after Schembri had a personal 8-point run, including two treys. Although Athleta reacted momentarily, a similar 8-point run, this time thanks to Cumpstone helped Luxol extend their lead further to a 48-35 half time score.
The third quarter was characterised with Luxol’s 21-3 run, started off by William Ahlberg, a run that helped them open a 69-40 lead.
The last quarter had Gzira Athleta trying to reduce the margin with Williams finding a better touch at close range but Luxol were in control and took home the first win in the series.
Cynergi Depiro 63 Floriana MCP Car Parks 60
(11-18, 20-10, 9-13, 23-19)
Depiro: N. Grech, D. Bugeja 8, R. Bonnici 17, D. Schembri, A. Aquilina, DJ Mason 25, T. Zammit, M. Mallia, A. Quiros 2, K. Xuereb 9, M. Borg, D. Scafidi 2
Floriana: C. Patus 23, S. Pace 3, S. Borg 8, N. Vasovic 16, C. Calleja, A. Axiaq 10, A. Micallef Trigona, N. Andrejevic
Referees: E. Mangani, I. Simic, I. Marjanovic
A 3-point shot from the left corner of the court by Robert Bonnici, just a second from the final buzzer, determined this first semifinal in favour of Cynergi Depiro who managed to also neutralize a double digit deficit in the last four minutes.
In fact, Floriana seemed to have found the right touch after taking the lead at the end of the third quarter and then opening a 10-point lead, in three instances, up to 54-44 with four minutes to go.
Yet Depiro had other thoughts and five 3-pointers, two from Bonnici on either side of three consecutive treys from DJ Mason, reopned the game.
The start of the game was in Floriana’s favour with hoops from Anton Axiaq, Shawn Pace and Nikola Vasovic helping the greens open a 16-7 lead and later to a maximum 22-11 advantage.
Depiro’s reply were two 10 point runs which helped them change ends with a small 31-28 lead which was extended to 38-28 as Floriana hit a dearth of points in the first six minutes.
The greens however went from one extreme to another as they, led by Chad Patus’ shooting, then had a 15-0 run spread over six minutes between quarters as it was Depiro who hit a six minute barren patch.
DJ Mason stopped Floriana’s run with his first basket on his way to a personal tally of 14 points in the last quarter yet the greens still managed to hold on to 54-44.
The late Mason 3-pointers tied the game in the dying seconds. Floriana fluffed their last possession comign off a time-out and Depiro made good use of this turnover with Bonnici sinking the killer trey with one second to go.