Malta registered the victory on the final day of European Championship for Small Countries. They thumped San Marino to step onto the pedestal. Malta clinched the third position. Samuel Deguara (223-C-91) came up with impressive 41 points and 15 rebounds for the winners. Malta left no chance for the hosts. The visitors went on a 28:13 run in the opening quarter. Malta stretched the gap to 17 points at halftime 43:26. Malta dominated right after the big break. Malta extended the advantage to as many as 29 points with ten minutes remaining. They did not slow down in the fourth quarter and rallied to a comfortable win at the end. Omar Said (177-PG-80) posted 15 points, while Darryl Jackson (189-SG-85, agency: Interperformances, college: Warner Pacific) and Steve Schembri (187-SF-79) accounted for 9 points each for the winners. Andrea Raschi (198-SG-79) answered with 16 points and 10 rebounds for San Marino. Lorenzo Liberti (183-G-91) posted 13 points in the loss.
Game reports by: Bernard Vassallo Hibernians 94 Starlites 103 (26-28) (22-24) (24-31) (22-20) The most entertaining game of the weekend resulted in Starlites' second league win as they overcame Hibernians' strong resistance, with the latter still searching for their first league victory. Baskets and points were definitely not lacking in this encounter with both sides amassing a large number of shot attempts with a considerable good scoring percentage. Starlites had the lead for a substa... [read more]
The most entertaining game of the weekend resulted in Starlites' second league win as they overcame Hibernians' strong resistance, with the latter still searching for their first league victory. Baskets and points were definitely not lacking in this encounter with both sides amassing a large number of shot attempts with a considerable good scoring percentage. Starlites had the lead for a substantial part of the game, even going up to a maximum 17 point lead, 92-75 with seven minutes left in the game, but Hibs, quite consistently, showed certain vigour to fight back into the game. In fact, Starlites got off to a better start as they quickly went 17-8 ahead. Their duo, Jacob Formosa and Alec Felice Pace, looked quite sharp on the day possibly also as they were just coming off an intense 3 day morning and evening training camp with the visiting Italian side Orlandina. Yet, with Hibs then having the upper edge under the boards, the Paolites came back into the game with their Spaniard post player Alvaro Lizaur grabbing a number of points. Two Stefan Vella treys even gave Hibs a momentary lead, 36-32, but Starlites' riposte were two similar long distance shots, from ex Ryan Carabott. Further points from Formosa, Felice Pace and Serb duo Nikola Stankovic (201-F-91) and Ivan Mitrovic neutralised Lizaur's and Adrian Micallef points at the other end for a high 52-48 score at the interval. Three consecutive Formosa buckets opened a double digit lead for Starlites but with Marco Matijevic coming more into the offensive fray for Hibs, the latter closed the gap, 66-70, midway in the third period only for Starlites to reply with a strong patch that had them 92-75 in front. Here Hibs' reaction was a 13-0 run in three minutes and the game was wide opne again. The gap came down twice to just 3 points but eventually Starlites were unyielding and ascertained their win with a number of late freeshots. Hibs: P. Attard 2, E. Xuereb, L. Farrugia 5, I. Bonett, K. Sultana, A. Micallef 18, M. Matijevic 22, S. Vella 8, F. Mariani, A. Lizaur 39 Starlites: I. Mitrovic 28, M. Azzopardi, L. Vella, R. Carabott 10, C. Schembri, M. Falzon, A. Felice Pace 15, N. Stankovic 19, J. Formosa 31, A. Schembri, M. Farrugia, T. Grech Referees: B. Vassallo, S. Micallef, Z. Dobrosavljevic
Gira Athleta 63 Cynergi Depiro 69 (19-14) (18-16) (16-20) (10-19)
The battle for the third league win between these two top sides resulted in a Cynergi Depiro success and they now share the top spot in the standings with Floriana. The determining moment in this encounter was a Depiro 13-2 run in the middle part of the final quarter as this run helped Depiro overturn a 7-point margin into a 4-point lead so late in the game as Gzira Athleta went quite dry in point grabbing in the final quarter. The start of the game had Gzira Athleta with a superior start racing 11-2 ahead but Depiro found refuge with consecutive treys from Dominic Scafidi (196-F) and Kurt Xuereb respectively. Josiah Whitehead and Michael Naudi reopened a Gzira Athleta 26-18 lead but again Depiro reacted and here had a 10 point run mainly through hoops from DJ Mason and Andrew Aquilina. The final moments of the first half had Gzira Athleta again showing the better offensive plays and they managed to change ends 37-30 in the lead. The thrid quarter was a balanced affair as Gzira Athleta maintained their lead with both sides continuing being a bit erratic in their free throws with misses and a low total game percentage at both ends. The last quarter had Depiro's significant 13-2 run as they also won some important offensive rebounds and points from Mason, David Bugeja and Alvaro Quiros gave them the lead. Whitehead was the only point grabber for Gzira Athleta in the final quarter. They did come back within 3 points, 63-66, but then missed four consecutive freethrows. Depiro profitted and closed the game with late freethrows from Bugeja and Scafidi for their first seasonal win over Gzira Athleta.
Gira Athleta: M. Naudi 18, R. Vella 14, D. Camilleri 4, L. Stefanovic, P. Shoults 5, F. Mifsud Bonnici, B. Zammit, S. Vincic, J. Whitehead 22. Cynergi Depiro: S. Sammut, D. Bugeja 13, R. Bonnici, D. Schembri, A. Aquilina 10, DJ Mason 24, T. Zammit, M. Mallia, A. Queiros 7, K. Xuereb 6, M. Borg, D. Scafidi 7. Referees: Emanuel Mangani, Stephen Micallef, Zvezdan Dobrosaviljevic.
Floriana MCP Car Parks 64 Bupa Luxol 75 (7-19) (10-19) (21-22) (26-15)
Bouyed by the introduction of the giant pivot Samuel Deguara (223-C-91), BUPA Luxol made Floriana MCP Car Parks taste their first league defeat. One of the determining factors in this game was Luxol's superiority under the boards as Deguara's towering presence contributed to a large number of rebounds at both ends. Floriana took time to settle down and Luxol had the better start with Pierce Cumpstone and William Ahlberg grabbing the initial baskets, youngster Keith Dimech notching a trey and Deguara immediatelt making his presence felt at close range. Luxol's lead imcreased to 30-7 as they also had a good start in the second quarter including baskets from Stefan Cappello and Jean Paul Schembri. Although Luxol kepot banging in their baskets, Floriana improved after a timeout and managed to share more the points having also long distance shots apart from points from Anton Axiaq who tried his best against Deguara's height advantage. The greens' best patch came midway in the final quarter when they regsitered a 14-2 run, closed off with a Nikola Andrejevic 3-pointer, that brought down the gap between both sides to 69-57. However Luxol were still in the driving seat and they controlled the final moments of the game for their second league win.
Floriana MCP Car Parks: C. Patus 7, S. Pace 8, S. Borg 7, N. Vasovic 9, C. Calleja, A. Axiaq 17, N. Andrejevic 12. Bupa Luxol: M. Mercieca 4, J. Maistre Melillo, JP Schembri 7, K. Dimech 7, W. Ahlberg 15, P. Cumpstone 22, S. Deguara 14, S. Cappello 6. Referees: Bernard Vassallo, Christine Farrugia, Zvezdan Dobrosaviljevic.
Game reports by Bernard Vassallo Starlites Naxxar 65 Hibernians 79 (18-19, 25-19, 16-17, 6-24) Starlites: I. Mitrovic 20, M. Azzopardi , L. Vella, A. Schembri 1, C. Schembri 2, M. Falzon , A. Felice Pace 13, N. Stankovic 14, J. Formosa 15, M. Vella , T. Grech Hibs: P. Attard , M. Hampton , E. Xuereb , L. Farrugia 5, S. Attard 2, I. Bonett , K. Sultana , A. Micallef 16, M. Matijevic 22, S. Vella, F. Mariani 6 , A. Lizaur 28 Referees: B. Vassallo, S. Micallef, C. Farrugia Hibernians wer... [read more]
Game reports by Bernard Vassallo
Starlites Naxxar 65 Hibernians 79 (18-19, 25-19, 16-17, 6-24) Starlites: I. Mitrovic 20, M. Azzopardi , L. Vella, A. Schembri 1, C. Schembri 2, M. Falzon , A. Felice Pace 13, N. Stankovic 14, J. Formosa 15, M. Vella , T. Grech Hibs: P. Attard , M. Hampton , E. Xuereb , L. Farrugia 5, S. Attard 2, I. Bonett , K. Sultana , A. Micallef 16, M. Matijevic 22, S. Vella, F. Mariani 6 , A. Lizaur 28 Referees: B. Vassallo, S. Micallef, C. Farrugia
Hibernians were the first finalists after they beat Starlites after an entertaining semi-final where the last quarter, where Hibs outscored their opponents 24-6, proved crucial to determine the winners. In fact, after Hibs had the initial lead, it was Starlites who had the upper hand for fiftenn minutes up to the start of the final quarter, even temporarily having a maximum 9 point lead, 43-34. The game got off to a sprightly start with points coming freely at both ends. An early Ivan Mitrovic trey helped Starlites to an 8-4 lead but Hibs quickly replied with a 13-4 run with points coming mainly off their trio Alvaro Lizaur, Marko Matijevic and Adrian Micallef. A tit-for-tat was seen at the start of the second period with Hibs maintaining a slender lead at 29-26 after four minutes and a Starlites timeout. Eight points shared between Jacob Formosa and Alec Felice Pace pipped Starlites in front and they managed to preserve this lead up till the interval at 43-38. The third quarter was yet another balanced affair as both sides replied to each other continuously although Starlites always managed to keep their lead for 59-55 ten minutes from the end. Hibs seemed to be a fresh side in the last quarter as they surprised their opponents with a 9-0 run which overturned the score in their favour. Although Nikola Stankovic halted momentarily Hibs' run with a basket, Starlites could not react in the right way and a further seven point run in the next two minutes put Hibs in the driving seat with a double digit lead with just two minutes till the final buzzer and they then controlled Starlites' final efforts to make their way to the final.
Floriana MCP Car Parks 55 Gzira Athleta 68 (6-18, 17-17, 24-18, 8-15) Floriana: C. Patus 14, S. Pace 12, S. Borg , N. Vasovic 15, C. Calleja 6, A. Axiaq 6, A. Micallef Trigona 2, N. Andrejevic Gzira Athleta: M. Naudi 10 , R. Vella 15, D. Camilleri 3, L. Stefanovic , P. Shoults 12, F. Mifsud Bonnici , B. Zammit , J. Bos , S. Vincic , N. Lubrano 2, M. Gauci Montaldo , J. Whitehead 26 Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, E. Ozpolat
Gzira Athleta made it to the fourth final in this season after beating Floriana MCP Car Parks in a game played in quite a cold temperature in the gym, an ambience that seemed, together with the long holiday playing hiatus, to affect the two teams in the initial stages of the semi-final as most of the players took some time to find their touch. The greens were the most affected as they could not find the right offensive momentum early on whilst Gzira Athleta, with Josiah Whitehead grabbing three early baskets, started opening an early lead and then a long range three from David Camilleri and a three point play by Michael Naudi (193-G/F-80) helped the maroons go 14-2 ahead after five minutes forcing Floriana to call an early time-out. After closing the first period twelve points in arrears, Floriana opened with a Chad Patus bucket and a Shawn Pace trey in the second quarter for 11-18 but Gzira Athleta replied with a 9 point break to re-open a double digit lead. Although the greens managed to stop this break, it was still the maroons that had control of the game's tempo till the interval with the score standing at 35-23. This margin was consistent in the first part of the third quarter after a brace of Roderick Vella baskets kept Athleta 45-27 in the lead. Floriana's best patch came in the next minutes when they outscored their opponents 16-5 and then late in the same quarter buckets from Patus and Vasovic decreased the margin to just five points, 47-52. A 7-0 run, coming off Whitehad and Shoults' points, in the first four minutes of the last quarter gave fresh impetus to Gzira Athleta as a double digit lead was re-established and forcing Floriana for another early timeout. The latter did regain some fresh hope when A Patus close range shot came between two Pace shots from downtown for a monetary 55-62 score line but Gzira Athleta ascertained the win with the last six points of the game.
Falzon starts his pro career at Zornotza - 15 days ago
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Ametx Zornotza (LEB Silver) agreed terms with 25-year old Maltese international forward Tevin Falzon (203-102kg-92, agency: Octagon Europe). Falzon just graduated from Sacred Heart (NCAA). He has played there for the last four years. In 25 games he had 10.9ppg, 8.3rpg, 1.5apg and 1.4bpg last season. Falzon helped them to end the regular season as a second best team in Northeast Conference. Quite impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-European Championship for Small Countr... [read more]
Ametx Zornotza (LEB Silver) agreed terms with 25-year old Maltese international forward Tevin Falzon (203-102kg-92, agency: Octagon Europe). Falzon just graduated from Sacred Heart (NCAA). He has played there for the last four years. In 25 games he had 10.9ppg, 8.3rpg, 1.5apg and 1.4bpg last season. Falzon helped them to end the regular season as a second best team in Northeast Conference. Quite impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-European Championship for Small Countries 1st Team. He has been also a member of Maltese international program for some years. Falzon has regularly played for Maltese senior team since 2014 and previously for U18 National Team back in 2009. He represented Malta at the European Championship for Small Countries in Moldova last year. His stats at that event were 5 games: 14.8ppg, Reb-1 (15.0rpg), 2.8apg, 1.6spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 17.4%, FT: 47.1%. As mentioned above Falzon is just out of college, so it will be his first season as a professional player.
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