Third-quarter surge lifts Athleta
Floriana maintain perfect start, Depiro see off Luxol
Gżira Athleta 75
(14-22, 18-11, 22-13, 21-22)
A 19-5 Gżira Athleta run in the third quarter was the turning point of this entertaining game as Joe Galea’s men overturned a 35-41 deficit into a 54-46 lead.
Hibs had been in the driving seat for most of the time prior to this run but then faced a mammoth task.
Despite narrowing the gap to a solitary point on two occasions, Athleta had fresh energy as they embarked on an eight-point streak to secure their second win in the league while Hibs are still searching for the first success.
Alvaro Lizaur and Marco Matijevic helped Hibs to an early 16-6 lead which they maintained till the end of the first quarter, 22-14.
An 8-0 run, thanks to the accurate shooting of Josiah Whitehead, helped Gżira Athleta take the lead for the first time, 29-28 after 19 minutes but a late Lizaur trey put Hibs back in front, 33-32, at half-time.
The third quarter was characterised by Athleta’s late 19-5 run with Michael Naudi also contributing to the points.
Hibs fought back, coming very close at 57-58 and 60-61 but an 8-0 run, with two Peter Shoults baskets, helped Athleta widen their lead again.
Gżira Athleta: M. Naudi 19, R. Vella 10, L. Stefanovic, P. Shoults 13, F. Mifsud Bonnici, B. Zammit 3, J. Bos, S. Vincic, M. Gauci Montaldo, J. Whitehead 30.
Hibernians: P. Attard, M. Hampton, E. Xuereb, L. Farrugia 11, S. Attard, I. Bonett 2, K. Sultana, A. Micallef 15, M. Matijevic 23, S. Vella, F. Mariani 2, A. Lizaur 15.
Referees: B. Vassallo, G. Barbara, Z. Dobrosavljevic.
Starlites Naxxar 88
Floriana MCP Car Parks 108
(24-25, 13-25, 30-29, 21-29)
Floriana MCP Car Parks opened a double-digit lead in the second quarter and had Starlites chasing them for the rest of the match.
The first meeting between these two sides this season started off as a very balanced affair. Although the Greens had a positive start, racing to a 12-4 lead with Chad Patus, the game’s top scorer, already in the midst of things, Starlites reacted quickly.
Accurate long-distance shooting through Serb guard Ivan Mitrovic enabled Starlites to close the quarter just a point behind, 24-25.
The first minutes of the second quarter were tit-for-tat as an initial 11-2 Floriana run was thwarted shortly afterwards with an 11-4 Starlites run, Jacob Formosa grabbing most of the points.
Yet, in the final moments of the first half, points from Patus and centre Anton Axiaq helped Floriana go 50-37 ahead at the interval.
The third quarter was similar to the first with Floriana again extending their lead but Starlites managing to be more accurate in the final moments through their Serb duo Mitrovic and Nikola Stankovic to make it an eight-point game, 79-67, with the last quarter to play.
Starlites tried their best to keep gnawing at their point deficit and managed to do so, albeit momentarily, as Floriana struck back with determination to register an important 16-2 run, mostly through the consistent Patus, Shawn Pace and Nikola Vasovic.
Starlites: I. Mitrovic 27, M. Azzopardi, L. Vella, A. Schembri 4, Q. Bugeja, M. Falzon, A. Felice Pace 10, Z. Stankovic, J. Formosa 21, N. Stankovic 26, M. Vella, T. Grech.
Floriana: C. Patus 45, S. Pace 8, S. Borg, N. Vasovic 24, C. Calleja 6, A. Axiaq 25, N. Andrejevic.
Referees: C. Farrugia, Z. Dobrosavljevic, T. Helenius.
Cynergi Depiro 74
Bupa Luxol 57
(20-20, 11-14, 22-8, 21-15)
A strong Cynergi Depiro performance in the third quarter separated these two sides in this BOV League encounter.
The first quarter was balanced with Depiro taking the initiative only for Luxol to hit back and level the score, 20-20.
Luxol, missing their Swede Ahlberg, had a good start to the second quarter with six consecutive points through Pierce Cumpstone and C.J. Cordina.
Depiro managed to stay in the game with three long-distance shots from Kurt Xuereb but a late Cordina hoop helped Luxol close the half 34-31 ahead.
There were early treys by Cordina and J.P. Schembri for Luxol in the third quarter but Depiro hit back strongly through D.J. Mason and later had three treys from Andrew Aquilina to go 53-42 in the lead with 10 minutes to go.
Depiro extended their lead in the final quarter as the game became more open.
Depiro: N. Grech 4, D. Bugeja 9, R. Bonnici, D. Schembri, A. Aquilina 15, DJ Mason 23, T. Zammit 3, M. Mallia 2, A. Quiroz, K. Xuereb 12, M. Borg, D. Scafidi 6.
Luxol: C.J. Cordina 20, D. Meli, J. Maistre Melillo, J.P. Schembri 9, K. Dimech 9, P. Cumpstone 17, S. Cappello 2.
Referees: C. Farrugia, T. Helenius, E. Ozpolat
Floriana MCP Car Parks 6; Cynergi Depiro, Gżira Athleta 5; BUPA Luxol, Starlites 4; Hibernians 3.