Reports: Bernard Vassallo
The seventh day of the BOV Division One men regular season was played in the past weekend with the prior sole leaders Cynergi Depiro losing to Hibernians, the latter grabbing their first league win, and now being joined at the top spot by BUPA Luxol who registered an easy win over Starlites.
In the other match, Gzira Athleta had the better of Floriana MCP Car Parks and are following just a game behind in the standings.
Hibernians 71 Cynergi Depiro 66
(13-20, 18-28, 22-10, 18-8)
The first game in the weekend resulted in Hibs’ first league success as they once again, similar like in the KO final, staged a second half comeback after Depiro had changed ends 48-31 ahead.
In fact Depiro looked a poised lot in the first half as they started distancing themselves with DJ Mason and David Bugeja netting hoops in a consistent manner.
Hibs, who had lost to Depiro in overtime in the first round, came flooding back into the game with a psoitive patch commencing mid way in the third quarter as they moved from 42-55 behind to 61-58 in the lead just eight minutes later with their best point grabbers, Adrian Micallef, Alvaro Lizaur and Marko Matijevic, accurate in their attempts.
Depiro forged again ahead momentarily after a Robert Bonnici trey but Hibs, despite having a total drought from the 3 point line in this game, made sure of this win with six consecutive points from Micallef.
With this success, Hibs kept open their hopes of sneaking in to clinch a play-off spot and their rescheduled game against Floriana, which was not played two weeks ago, may be quite important in their aspirations.
Hibs: P. Attard, E. Xuereb, L. Farrugia 2, S. Attard 3, A. Micallef 14, M. Matijevic 25, S. Vella, F. Mariani 2, A. Lizaur 25
Depiro: S. Sammut 7, D. Bugeja 14, R. Bonnici 9, A. Aquilina 5, DJ Mason 18, T. Zammit 5, M. Mallia , K. Xuereb 8, M. Borg, D. Scafidi
Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, C. Farrugia
Game Notes: Partial Score: 5’ 5-11, 15’ 25-33, 25’ 42-55 35’ 63-65; Shooting: FT: H: 13/25, D: 10/18; 2Pt: H:29/55, D: 19/50; 3Pt: H: 0/9, D: 6/20; Rebounds: H: Def 35, Off 17, D: Def 24, Off 16; Fouls: H: 14, D: 23; Fouled out: none.
Starlites Naxxar 64 BUPA Luxol 108
(13-29, 22-20, 15-26, 14-33)
BUPA Luxol registered another league century and even joined Depiro at the top of the standings after beating the young Starlites who could not contain Luxol’s height advantage under the boards with the towerign centre Samuel Deguara netting a hefty 47 personal points and also contributing the his team’s total supermacy in the rebounds game.
This game was played in the secondary pavilion as the main pavilion’s surface was deemed slippery due to the adverse atmospheric conditions at that time.
Luxol immediately took control of the game and quickly opened a considerable lead with their imports, Pierce Cumpstone and William Ahlberg, leading the locals up the court.
Starlites, who also had their centre Stankovic committing four fouls by the 16th minute, tried to avoid going unnecessarily to the basket and resorted to mid and long range distance shots to try and curb the damage and some treys from Ivan Mitrovic and Ryan Carabott and did, momentarily, come to 37-49 behind.
Yet three successive threes quickly asserted Luxol’s dominance and with Starlites opting to start hurrying up, then margin between the two teams increased further.
Starlites: I. Mitrovic 22, R. Carabott 10, L. Vella, A. Schembri 3, M. Azzopardi, M. Falzon 4, I. Felice Pace 3, N. Stankovic 14, M. Falzon, A. Felice Pace, N. Stankovic, J. Formosa 8, M. Vella, O. Psaila
Luxol: CJ Cordina 3, M. Mercieca 4, D. Meli, J. Maistre Melillo, JP Schembri 6, K. Dimech 7, W. Ahlberg 18, P. Cumpstone 21, S. Deguara 47, S. Cappello 2
Referees: B. Vassallo, S. Micallef, I. Marjanovic
Game Notes: Partial Score: 5’ 8-15, 15’ 18-42, 25’ 42-60, 35’ 55-91; Shooting: FT: S: 8/12, L: 12/17; 2Pt: S:19/44, L: 36/59; 3Pt: S: 6/33, L: 8/24; Rebounds: S: Def 21, Off 12, L: Def 40, Off 22; Fouls: S: 18, L: 10; Fouled out: Stankovic (S) 40’.
Gzira Athleta 70 Floriana MCP Car Parks 59
(23-11, 10-27, 17-8, 20-13)
Gzira Athleta, fresh from their Borg Cup success over the same Floriana, recorded their fourth league win after an encounter which had a number of different facets.
In fact, Athleta zipped to a considerable early lead going 19-2 ahead after just five minutes as their starting five all contributed some poimts.
Floriana had to succumb to an early time out to limit the damage and they did start to settle down afterwards and brought down the deficit to 12 points, 11-23, by the end of the first quarter.
It was then the turn of Floriana to start winnign the boards and open up strong in the first 6 minutes of the second quarter as they had a 16-4 run that brought the two rivals at par, 27-27 with a number of close range hoops from Anton Axiaq.
Although Josiah Whitehead did help Athleta to forge again momentarily ahead at 33-29, Floriana closed the half again in a compelling manner with a nine point run, which could have been bigger had they not missed some free throws, to change ends 38-33 in the lead.
The third quarter was a low scoring affair with Floriana managing to hold the lead for seven minutes at 44-41 but Gzira Athleta found their touch again to register a 19-4 run in six minutes to jump 62-48 to the fore with the greens also responsivble for certain turnovers.
Time was to Athleta’s benefit and they then controlled the tempo in the concluding minutes.
Gzira Athleta: M. Naudi 9, R. Vella 18, D. Camilleri 3, P. Shoults 9, F. Mifsud Bonnici, B. Zammit 2, S. Vincic 2, M. Gauci Montaldo, J. Whitehead 27
Floriana: C. Patus 10, S. Pace 2, S. Borg 4, N. Vasovic 18, C. Calleja 4, A. Axiaq 16, A. Micallef Trigona, N. Andrejevic 5
Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, C. Farrugia
Game Notes: Partial Score: 5’ 19-2, 15’ 22-21, 25’ 39-42, 35’ 64-52; Shooting: FT: A: 9/12, F: 7/13; 2Pt: A:26/44, F: 23/52; 3Pt: A: 3/18, F: 2/16; Rebounds: A: Def 32, Off 7, F: Def 31, Off 12; Fouls: A: 15, F: 17; Fouled out: none.
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MAPFRE MSV Life Women
The women league continued to resulted in further equilibrium between the teams, especially after Hibernians managed to beat Depiro and now the tussle for the four play-off spots is wide open given that a whole round of games remains.
With Luxol having a rest day, Gzira Athleta jumped to solitary leadership after overcoming Starlites’ bold resistance. The game got off with Athleta racing to an initial 14-5 lead but Starlites quickly retorted, with Spainiard Arguello leading the tempo, to close the first quarter at 16 a piece.
An 11-0 early run in the second quarter helped Gzira Athleta, directed by their menacing duo Amelia Simmons and Christina Grima, to a 37-27 half time lead. This same lead increased to 52-38 late in the third quarter as Starlites also lost their centre Josephine Grima through injury.
However Starlites did not throw in the towel and did come to within six points away, 55-61, with three minutes to go but Gzira Athleta applied good defensive pressure and managed to secure the important win.
In the other encounter, Depiro could not build on their previous success over Starlites and had to bow down to a sprightly Hibs’ performance which amply opened the play-off race.
The game was balanced for the majority of time. The first half ended at par, 23-23 with depiro having most of the lead, especially after going 19-11 ahead but Hibs managed to gnaw back into the game.
It was still an equla game, 34-34, after 29 minutes but now Hibs achieved an important 12-2 run with points from Trudy Armstead and Emma Micallef.
Ten points in arrears, Depiro tried to get back into the game but Hibs managed to control the tempo, led by guard Gambino, to return to winning ways.
Starlites Naxxar 61 Gzira Athleta 73
(16-16, 11-21, 16-15, 18-21)
Starlites: D. Revol, K. Galea 14, J. Doughty 4, S. Farrugia 6, D. Agius 4, K. Pirotta 9, J. Micallef, J. Grima 9, P. Arguello 15, E. Magrin, S. Davies
Gzira Athleta: M. Stefanovic, C. Grima 18, B. Zammit 6, S. Pisani, L. Sciberras 2, A. Simmons 18, D. Said Hollier 18, A. Borg, J. Schembri, S. Vella 11, C. Mifsud
Referees: E. Mangani, S. Micallef, J. Mangani
Depiro 48 Hibernians 60
(19-14, 4-9, 11-15, 14-22)
Depiro: A. Mifsud, G. Mifsud 8, H. Acreman, S. Brincat 8, M. Bonett 6, M. Balzaraviciute, N. Agius, M. Scicluna 3, C. Schumacher 13, T. DeMartino 4, C. Ciantar 6
Hibs: E. Micallef 7, E. Cassar 2, S. Gambino 14, I. Agius 3, K. Caruana, M. Said 3, K. Portanier Mifsud, N. Farrugia, T. Armstead 23, A. Marinkovic, J. Scerri 8
Referees: B. Vassallo, B. Sly, I. Marjanovic
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