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Depiro, Athleta through

Depiro Pavi 87
Floriana Francesco Fenech 76
(17-13, 20-22, 30-20, 20-21)

Depiro, under the guidance of Mario Tabone, again had the better of Floriana who were without pivots Dirk Schembri and Mark Ciantar.

After Floriana took a 11-6 lead towards the fifth minute, Depiro gradually improved and, despite losing Nigel Sultana through injury, an 11-2 break helped them finish the first quarter 17-13 ahead.

After falling behind 28-20, Floriana regrouped to recover lost ground, changing ends only a basket behind – 37-35.

Any hopes Floriana might have had of winning this match were dashed as the third session got underway.

In fact, Depiro looked more aggressive in defence and, turning the ball fast in attack, they exploited the spaces left open by Floriana for them to pot easy shots.

Starting the last 10 minutes 67-55 in front, Depiro were in command. Floriana tried hard but they could never wipe out the gap.

Depiro: R. Vella 8, N. Sultana, K. Kun, A. Aquilina 13, A. Portelli 2, D. Agius 10, A. Micallef 8, E. Lupo, M. Mallia 6, I. Tanti 8, S. Morgan 32.

Floriana: B. Scott Camilleri 9, D. Camilleri 11, C. Sammut 16, I. Mercieca 7, S. Sammut, C. Calleja, P. Thomas 29, S. Saakian 4.

Referees: A. Carbonaro, C. Terribile, S. Gouder.

Siġġiewi 50
Athleta A-Z Electronics 62
(14-11, 14-15, 7-11, 15-25)

Much more was expected from these two teams as this Shield semi-final was riddled with a series of erratic passing and fumbled possessions.

Joe Galea’s Athleta had pivot Addison Bonnici back but chief potter Michael Naudi is still unavailable.

After an error-strewn opening, Siġġiewi potted eight consecutive points to go 12-5 ahead but Athleta hit back in the last minutes to reduce the gap to 14-11.

With the off-form Marco Todorovic failing to score points from underneath the board, Siġġiewi held on to their lead but tension soon started to creep into their game and, for the umpteenth time, the team lost pace and cohesion.

That helped Athleta to stay in the game even though they had to substitute Todorovic after committing his third foul.

At half-time, Siġġiewi were en-joying a slim lead of 28-26.

One expected Peter Farrugia’s team to regain their composure at the interval but that never hap-pened as confusion continued to plague their game.

Athleta failed to profit, however, and only managed to build a two-point lead (37-35) in a low-scoring third session.

Siġġiewi’s shooting perfor-mance was abysmal to say the least as the more disciplined Athleta players soon found their range, especially through Steve Schembri.

They administered their lead wisely as Siġġiewi’s tame efforts never really troubled their opponents.

Siġġiewi: R. Agius, L. Ross 11, L. Camilleri, P. Shoults 5, E. Xuereb, A. Borg 2, C. Maeir 16, M. Majitevic 16, A. Fekete.

Athleta A-Z: D. Bugeja 8, M. Todorovic 15, M. Giusti, Z. Borg, O. Said 12, S. Pace, A. Bonnici 8, K. Baldacchino 2, S. Schembri 17.

Referees: B. Vassallo, G. Barbara, E. Mangani.

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