Dominant Athleta go 2-0 up in decider
Depiro Mtarfa 50
Athleta A-Z Electronics 90
(12-22, 15-23, 13-24, 10-21)
Athleta A-Z Electronics are one win away from retaining the men’s league title after taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five final series against Depiro Mtarfa.
Despite playing without captain Michael Naudi and forward Kristen Baldacchino, both injured, Athleta proved too strong for Depiro last weekend.
It looked as though Depiro, who were again handicapped by the absence of American Greg Hamlin, lacked motivation and fighting spirit as they effectively gave up inside the opening quarter.
Depiro failed to repeat their bold showing in the first game with their shooters short on precision especially from the three-point line.
Athleta’s Serbian player Marco Todorovic was a towering figure underneath Depiro’s ring while three consecutive three-pointers from Omar Said set the champions on their way to a comfortable victory.
Depiro’s resistance only lasted around six minutes as Todorovic and Said chalked up the points to put Athleta 22-12 in front at the end of the first quarter.
As the second quarter got underway, Depiro tried to fight back but Athleta held firm to lead 32-21 with five minutes left for the interval.
With the demoralised Depiro unable to find their rhythm, Athleta took full advantage to change ends 45-27 ahead.
The final two sessions offered more of the same as Athleta continued to dictate matters to start the last 10 minutes with a comfortable 29-point lead, 69-40.
Athleta inflicted further punishment on the stuttering Depiro in the last quarter, increasing their winning margin to a staggering 40 points.
Depiro: R. Vella 4, J.P. Sammut, N. Sultana 12, A. Aquilina, A. Portelli 21, A. Micallef 6, E. Lupo 2, M. Mallia 2, I. Tanti 3.
Athleta: I. Buldakov 3, D. Bugeja 10, M. Todorovic 22, M. Giusti, A. Fekete 8, O. Said 15, D. Schembri 16, A. Bonnici 14, S. Schembri 2.
Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, C. Terribile.