Siggiewi unable to avoid Athleta in play-offs - Mar 20, 2012
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The first phase of the mens National League came to a close last weekend with the remaining three matches in the calendar.
With Luxol and Loyola already out of the reckoning, the only issue to be determined was the semi-finals line-up.
Champions Athleta will continue their title defence with a best-of-three series against Siggiewi while surprise package Floriana take on Depiro in the other match.
The opening matches from the semi-final play-offs get underway on Sunday.
Athleta A-Z Electronics 85
(29-23, 11-21, 13-27, 17-14)
Siggiewi needed to win this last match from Phase One to avoid fourth place and a semi-final slot against the same Athleta.
However, after an encouraging start, Siggiewi had to bow to stronger opponents.
They pulled away to lead 29-23 at the end of the first quarter but Athleta came rushing back and at the interval Joe Galeas men were 44-40 ahead.
It was all even at this stage but then Siggiewi lost concentration following some controversial decisions by the match officials.
Here one recommends uniformity by referees as the stakes will be much higher in the semi-finals.
Athleta raced to a 71-53 lead before the last quarter got underway. Siggiewi surpassed a shaky patch but by now it was too late as Athleta already had the two points in their bags.
Siggiewi: R. Agius, A. Cutajar, L. Camilleri 8, P. Shoults, E. Xuereb 5, A. Borg 12, K. Borg 3, C. Meier 17, M. Kodomaris, Marko Matijevic (200-F-78) 25.
Athleta: M. Naudi 21, I Buldakov, D. Bugeja 8, M. Giusti, M. Todorovic 15, O. Said 13, D. Schembri 17, A. Bonnici 3, K. Baldacchino, S. Schembri 8.
Referees: G. Barbara, E. Mangani, C. Terribile.
Floriana Fran. Fenech 78
BUPA Luxol 65
(11-19, 19-19, 19-12, 29-15)
Thanks to this victory on Friday, Floriana finished runners-up in the regular season as Luxol, without a hope of making the play-offs, looked more focused on the KO final.
Floriana started badly but when Evan Fjeld regained his touch the Greens imposed their superiority.
In fact, midway through the second session Luxol led 30-11 but Floriana regrouped and at half-time they had cut the deficit to eight points 38-30.
Luxol continued to enjoy the lead (44-38) but as Floriana upped their game John Tabones team suddenly lost composure even though they still managed to lead by a point (50-49) for the last ten minutes.
But with Luxol in disarray, Floriana were now in cruise mode, going on to lead 66-55 before chalking up a sixth victory with a comfortable scoreline.
Floriana: J. Curmi, C. Sammut 19, I. Mercieca 6, S. Sammut 14, C Calleja 4, A. Baldacchino, E. Fjeld 31, A. Sultana, M. Ciantar 4.
Luxol: J.C. Cordina, M. Mercieca 10, Jeron Belin (198-F-88, agency: Dynamics Global Management, college: St.Peter's) 30, A. Micallef Trigona 8, L. Lee Ross (182-G-89) 15, N. Vasovic 2, A. Costa, T. Paris, M. Attard Montaldo, E. Caruana Montaldo, S. Capello.
Referees: G. Barbara, C. Terribile, S. Gouder.
Loyola Tata Motors 81
Depiro Mtarfa 78
(24-22, 17-15, 13-18, 27-23)
Loyola completed their Phase One commitments with a sound win over Depiro who still qualified in third place.
The lead changed hands several times but at the break it was Loyola who were in front 41-37.
Depiro hit back strongly to go five points ahead (50-54) before the last 10 minutes got underway.
They held a 67-63 lead with only a few minutes left but Loyola grew in confidence and forged ahead as Depiro were unable to finish the job.
Loyola: S. Pace 6, B. Zammit 5, D. Camilleri 6, M. Cilia, S. Borg 6, L. Azzopardi, Anton Axiaq (188-C-91) 19, J.P. Azzo-pardi 11, J. Anastasi 1, J. Ransley, R. Harris 27.
Depiro: R. Vella 13, J.P. Schembri 3, N. Sultana 4, A. Aquilina 15, A. Portelli 4, A. Micallef 6, E. Lupo 6, M. Mallia 2, I. Tanti 6, G. Hamlin 19.
Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, C. Terribile.
Depiro captain Roderick Vella is the player of the month for February. Last month, Depiro gained a series of important wins to eventually book their place in the semi-final play-offs.
This was Vellas fifth monthly award in his career.
He contributed to Depiros positive run by totalling 45 points, including seven from outside the arc to top the classification for three-point shooters in February.
Vella received the player of the month trophy from Martin Ferry, on behalf of sponsors You Shop We Ship.
Athleta 19 (9-1), Floriana 16 (6-4), Depiro 15 (5-5), Siggiewi 15 (5-5), Luxol 13 (3-7), Loyola 12 (2-8).
Jeron Belin (BUPA Luxol) 320, E. Fjeld (Floriana ) 312, R. Harris (Loyola) 272, Marko Matijevic (Sig-giewi) 238.
(Sunday league SFs) 14.45 Athleta vs Siggiewi, 16.30 Floriana vs Depiro.
Courtesy of: timesofmalta.com