Athleta and Depiro in final
Reigning champions Athleta and Depiro will contest the best-of-five title play-offs after beating Siġġiewi and Floriana respectively in a decisive third game of their semi-finals.
Floriana Fran. Fenech 58
Depiro Mtarfa 77
(10-20, 18-15, 17-22, 13-20)
Depiro are in the final play-offs after a very long lapse. Last weekend, they dismissed Floriana’s feeble challenge to win their semi-final series 2-1.
Carrying on where they had left off in the second leg, Depiro turned the ball around well against the slow-moving Floriana zone defence. A series of three-pointers paved the way for Depiro’s progress.
With Floriana enduring a slow start, Depiro raced ahead 20-10. However, after falling 13 points behind, 35-22, the Greens regrouped before the interval to cut the deficit to seven points – 35-28.
Floriana’s recovery continued in the third session.
By the fifth minute, they came to within a basket of Depiro (41-39) only to squander a series of chances to level matters.
That proved costly as Depiro hit 10 consecutive points to regain control and start the last 10 minutes 57-45 ahead.
Floriana gave up the fight, their reaction never came as the confident Depiro easily preserved their lead.
Floriana: J. Curmi 3, C. Sammut 10, I. Mercieca, S. Sammut 4, C. Calleja 9, E. Fjeld 24, A. Sultana 6, M. Ciantar 2.
Depiro: R. Vella 19, J.P. Schembri, N. Sultana 10, A. Aquilina 14, A. Portelli 1, A. Micallef 12, E. Lupo, M. Mallia, I. Tanti, G. Hamlin 21.
Referees: G. Barbara, A. Carbo-naro, S. Gouder.
Athleta A-Z Electronics 94
(22-15, 23-13, 20-14, 29-16)
After two balanced ties, this final leg of the series was a non-contest.
Athleta, with Andreas Fekete in the side, never looked back after seizing the initiative around the fifth minute of the first quarter as Siġġiewi were outclassed.
With full confidence back, Athleta improved their shooting besides enjoying a high percentage from the free-throw line.
The early stages offered promise as Siġġiewi were 9-8 ahead but eight consecutive points set the stage for Athleta’s victory.
Siġġiewi were a spent force thereafter with Alan Borg and Peter Shoults unable to find a way through while Chris Meier was blotted out of the game and only managed eight points.
Despite having captain Michael Naudi on the bench for most of the time, Athleta opened a 45-28 lead at the interval.
Siġġiewi failed to stage a reaction and their main source of points was only coming from Borg’s three-pointers.
Athleta started the last quarter leading 65-42. They continued to hammer at the Siġġiewi basket for a comprehensive win and a place in the final.
Athleta: M. Naudi 2, I. Buldakov, D. Bugeja 5, M. Todorovic 20, M. Giusti, S. Schembri 14, O. Said 13, D. Schembri 4, A. Bonnici 23, K. Baldacchino 8, A. Fekete 5.
Siġġiewi: R. Agius, L. Camilleri 2, P. Shoults 15, E. Xuereb 3, L. Grima, A. Borg 3, K. Borg 13, C. Meier 8, C. Kodomaris, M. Matijevic 14.
Referees: G. Barbara, E. Mangani, C. Terribile.
Play-off final (game one): Sunday 16.30 Athleta vs Depiro.