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Serie A1 team Orlandina for Malta training camp

Opportunity for promising youngsters to train with pros at MBA’s Ta’ Qali base

Betaland Orlandina Basket will hold a four-day training camp in Malta next week. Photo: Joe Pappalardo/orlandinabasket.it

Betaland Orlandina Basket will hold a four-day training camp in Malta next week. Photo: Joe Pappalardo/orlandinabasket.it

Italian Serie A1 side Betaland Orlandina Basket will travel to Malta next week for a four-day training camp at the Ta’ Qali Pavilion.

Malta Basketball Association (MBA) president Paul Sultana confirmed with Times of Malta that the Sicilian side will be taking advantage of the short recess from domestic competitions to prepare for the second part of the season during their training stint in Malta.

“It’s unusual for us to have a team of this calibre conducting a training camp at our headquarters,” Sultana said.

“The opportunity came about after a meeting with officials from Orlandina’s sponsors Betaland.

“Talks went smoothly and we had everything sorted out in a matter of a few days.

“Orlandina are a very competitive side in Italy.

“They currently share sixth place in the league and last week also succeeded in qualifying for the Final Eight of the Coppa Italia tournament.

“Their presence here will be a valuable learning experience for our association, players and coaches.”

Orlandina, under the supervision of coach Gennaro Di Carlo, complete their Serie A1 championship first round on Sunday with an away match at Consutinvest Pesaro.

They are scheduled to begin their training camp here on Wednesday.

They are planning two daily sessions at the pavilion before heading back to Sicily on January 14.

Last week, the Capo D’Orlando-based team beat ENEL Brindisi 86-82 to reach the next stage of the Coppa Italia and extend their impressive home form to seven successive wins.

The majority of players on Orlandina’s roster are foreigners with US duo Drake Diener and Dominque Archie, and Croatian centre Mario Delas among the highest scorers in the Serie A1 this season.

Sultana said Orlandina are willing to have two upcoming Maltese players practise with their team on each day of their training camp.

“This is a great gesture from Orlandina and a golden opportunity for some of our young players to work closely with top-notch professionals,” Sultana said.

Orlandina’s visit will be the first by an Italian top-flight side in several years.

Sultana, who has been working relentlessly to improve the facilities and profile of Maltese basketball together with his fellow MBA officials, is hopeful that Orlandina’s training camp will be a good advert for the MBA to attract more overseas sides in the  future.

“I think it’s beneficial for the image of our sport to have teams like Orlandina coming over,” he said. “We have invested significantly in our facilities in recent years and today we are in a position to embark on such initiatives.”

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