Gzira Athleta obtained their 4th consecutive success in the BOV Knock out final after beating Falken Cynergi Virtus 98-84. It was the best match of the season with both teams reaching a high level of performance. It was Virtus first defeat of the season, actually the first one since they lost a play-offs semifinal last year. Athleta were the best team on court mixing several types of defense and sometimes opting for a full court zone press. Lee Fisher (198-F-89, college: Chicago St.) Michael Naudi (193-G/F-80) and Nicolai Lubrano won several offensive rebounds, another point which turned the game in favour of Joe Galea's side. Athleta quickly took a 5 point lead 7-2 with Naudi in fine form from the start. Virtus hit back with a David Bugeja triple and they even took the lead with points by Jacob Formosa and Chris Santo (196-F, college: St.Anselm). Athleta were back with a 10-2 run with a Naudi triple together with Fisher and Micallef as they obtained a 10 point lead 27-17. In the second quarter, Athleta's advantage grew larger with a couple of hoops by Roderick Vella and Lubrano. Formosa and Peter Shoults (168-G-85) replied for Virtus with a couple of treys but a Billy Zammit (160-PG-90) triple and hoops by Fisher kept Athleta's double figure lead. Santo netted consecutive points for the champions as Vella nailed a trey for Athleta. Virtus ended the session with a 7-0 run including a Robert Bonnici trey and at halftime Athleta's lead was down to six points 50-44. In the start of the third quarter, both teams replied to each other as Vella netted his second triple for Athleta. Virtus replied with an 11-4 run with Shoults second trey as they succeeded in going ahead for the first time 65-63 before the last quarter got underway. Athleta opened with a Lubrano triple to get the lead once more. For two times, the champions replied as Santo and Shoults gave them the advantage. Athleta hit back with a 10-2 run with more points by Fisher and Lubrano. In the ninth minute, Athleta had a 9-3 run mainly from the free-throw line as Virtus attempted to stop the clock. However, Athleta kept calm and scored the remaining free-throws to win the game 98-84 among the celebrations by the players and supporters. At the end of the game, Peter Perotti Bank of Valletta Chief Officer presented the MVP momento to Lee Fisher and the KO trophy to Athleta's captain Michael Naudi. Falken Cynergi Virtus: S. Pace, D. Bugeja 16, R. Bonnici 11, D. Camilleri, S. Bonnici, J. Formosa 13, A. Felice Pace, C. Santo 34, L. Sobers, F. Bartolo, P. Shoults 10, T. Grech. Gira Athleta: M. Naudi 31, R. Vella 15, J. Wait, D. Wiersum, L. Stefanovic, I. Buldakov, B. Zammit 3, A. Micallef 5, N. Lubrano 12, S. Vincic, M. G. Montaldo, L. Fisher 31. Referees: Bernard Vassallo, Gordon Barbara, Emanuel Mangani.
BOV League Division 1 Men 2017 Finals Series Game 3 BUPA Luxol 84 Floriana MCP Car Parks 71 (25-12, 22-16, 23-18, 14-25) Luxol: CJ Cordina 3, M. Mercieca 3, M. Sjoberg, J. Maistre, JP Schembri 17, K. Dimech 10, W. Ahlberg 3, P. Cumpstone 21, S. Deguara 27, S. Cappello Floriana: C. Patus 13, D. Schembri 25, S. Borg 11, D. Agius, N. Vasovic 6, C. Calleja, A. Axiaq 11, A. Micallef Trigona 2, N. Andrejevic 4 Referees: G. Barbara, E. Mangani, I. Simic BUPA Luxol made it a clean sweep in th... [read more]
BOV League Division 1 Men 2017 Finals Series Game 3
BUPA Luxol 84 Floriana MCP Car Parks 71 (25-12, 22-16, 23-18, 14-25) Luxol: CJ Cordina 3, M. Mercieca 3, M. Sjoberg, J. Maistre, JP Schembri 17, K. Dimech 10, W. Ahlberg 3, P. Cumpstone 21, S. Deguara 27, S. Cappello Floriana: C. Patus 13, D. Schembri 25, S. Borg 11, D. Agius, N. Vasovic 6, C. Calleja, A. Axiaq 11, A. Micallef Trigona 2, N. Andrejevic 4 Referees: G. Barbara, E. Mangani, I. Simic
BUPA Luxol made it a clean sweep in this year's BOV League play-off stage when after a 3-0 series won in the semi-final stage against Gzira Athleta, the violets continued with three straight wins in the finals series against Floriana MCP Car Parks.
Thus Luxol retuned on the champions podium for the thirteenth time in history, eight years after their last success in 2009 when that year they had beaten Sliema (today Gzira Athleta) 2-0 in the finals.
Continuing from their big win in game 2, Luxol were quick to establish a good early lead.
The first moments of this third final were a bit clumsy and the first bucket came after two minutes through a long distance shot from Jean-Paul Schembri (182-G-92).
Floriana, who were featuring in the third final series in the last five years managing also to win the league in 2013, did have a reply at this stage and a Sean Borg (177-PG-92) hoop followed by a Nikola Vasovic (180-PG-92) trey gave them the only lead in the game, 5-3, after three minutes.
In the next six minutes Luxol struck in a solid manner as a Keith Dimech (178-F-00) 3-pointer set them off on an important 19-2 run with Samuel Deguara (223-C-91) starting to contribute offensive points with a number of free throws and Schembri hitting two consecutive treys. The same player remained on the mark as he had another two treys at the start of the second period and then, with Deguara and Pierce Cumpstone (203-F-94, college: Stonehill) finding more space to bang in their points, Luxol extended their lead to 44-20 after 18 minutes of play.
Led positively by William Ahlberg, who had a quiet day in shooting but finished with six assists, Luxol searched to feed the ball more to Deguara after the interval and the local giant made use of his towering height and helped his side to have a further run, this time 9-0, as the margin increased to a maximum of 62-34 midway in the third quarter.
Deguara's fourth foul and subsequent bench time spurred Floriana to put in a reaction and led by Chad Patus (203-F-87, college: Belm.Abbey) and another offensive first rate performance from Dirk Schembri (193-F-85), they started somewhat gnawing slowly into the margin, especially when early in the last quarter the greens had their best moment in the game with 19-2 run that led them to a 65-74 score.
Deguara, who had re-entered in the game earlier, fouled out with three minutes to go and a Patus hoop had Floriana just 8 points away, 69-77.
Yet, with the greens failing to score in their next couple of plays, Pierce Cumpstone took all the responsibility and six personal points ascertained Luxol's third series victory and the thirteenth league crown.
At the end of the match, Bank of Valletta's Chief Officer Peter Perotti and the MBA president Paul Sultana, presented the winning medals to the BUPA Luxol players and technical staff, the Most Valuable Player award for the finals series to Samuel Deguara and finally handed the 2017 BOV League trophy to Luxol's captain Marco Mercieca (184-PG-83).
What they said:
Chad Patus (Floriana): 'the finals were an intense physical battle, just like we expected.
Luxol came really together well this season, especially after Samuel joined them.
Each of their players found a role that would, in some way, benefit the team and this made them a very difficult team to match up against.
We fought hard and I really want to thank my team mates for the effort but we should also tip our hats to Luxol who won the league.'
Marco Mercieca (Luxol): 'I am obviously thrilled to bring back the league to Luxol after a number of years.
It was a tough season, especially at the beginning, but following the arrival of Samuel, thanks to the efforts of the club president Edgar Caruana Montaldo, changed the team camaraderie completely and we had a great 2017 which was capped with a 6-0 playoff run.
I am glad to win my 5th personal league honour to end my career on a high.'
John Tabone (Luxol): 'this championship was a deserved achievement at the end, yet it was somewhat unexpected at the beginning of the season.
Our fortunes took a boost during Christmas when our President Edgar Caruana Montaldo managed to re-sign Samuel Deguara with the club. This was an important twist in our favour as it changed Luxol from a mediocre side trying to make the Play offs final 4 into a potential championship team. And what a Championship team it turned out to be. One of the most complete side we ever had at LUXOL. Every department was filled up to perfection.
With the trio of Deguara, Cumpstone and Ahlberg our game became more secure and spectacular, both on offence and most of all on defence. They guided us all throughout the Semis and more importantly during the finals.
Special mention to our captain Marco Mercieca for his continuous support, to Keith Dimech, our sixteen year old darling, who was a delight to watch as he committed himself to the team like a seasoned senior and to Jean-Paul Schembri who played an important role with his longrange shots. CJ Cordina, Stefan Cappello and Jamie Maistre Melillo were also important for our final success their commitment to the team and to our under 23 side which together with Keith Dimech and Pierce Cumpstone were also crowned the under 23 league Champions.'
BUPA Luxol were yesterday crowned Malta basketball champions for the 13th time in the club's history after defeating Floriana MCP Car Parks 84-71 to seal the final play-off series 3-0. This was Luxol's first championship crown after an absence of eight years. Samuel Deguara(223-C-91) was again the protagonist for John Tabone's Luxol yesterday as the towering pivot was the game's leading scorer with 27 points. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the final series. Courtesy of: timesofm... [read more]
BUPA Luxol were yesterday crowned Malta basketball champions for the 13th time in the club's history after defeating Floriana MCP Car Parks 84-71 to seal the final play-off series 3-0. This was Luxol's first championship crown after an absence of eight years. Samuel Deguara (223-C-91) was again the protagonist for John Tabone's Luxol yesterday as the towering pivot was the game's leading scorer with 27 points. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the final series. Courtesy of: timesofmalta.com
Bank of Valletta 2017 Finals Series Game 1 BUPA Luxol 80 Floriana MCP Car Parks 72 (16-18, 24-13, 20-15, 20-26) Luxol: CJ Cordina, M. Mercieca, M. Sjoberg, J. Maistre , JP Schembri 11, K. Dimech 7, W. Ahlberg 12, P. Cumpstone 16, S. Deguara 28, S. Cappello 6 Floriana: C. Patus 34, D. Schembri 11, S. Borg, D. Agius, N. Vasovic 18, C. Calleja 2, A. Axiaq 2, A. Micallef 5, N. Andrejevic Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, I. Simic BUPA Luxol continued on their play-offs winning streak by r... [read more]
Bank of Valletta 2017 Finals Series
BUPA Luxol 80 Floriana MCP Car Parks 72 (16-18, 24-13, 20-15, 20-26) Luxol: CJ Cordina, M. Mercieca, M. Sjoberg, J. Maistre , JP Schembri 11, K. Dimech 7, W. Ahlberg 12, P. Cumpstone 16, S. Deguara 28, S. Cappello 6 Floriana: C. Patus 34, D. Schembri 11, S. Borg, D. Agius, N. Vasovic 18, C. Calleja 2, A. Axiaq 2, A. Micallef 5, N. Andrejevic Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, I. Simic
BUPA Luxol continued on their play-offs winning streak by registering a win against Floriana in the first game of the 2017 BOV Finals.
The greens did try to offer a stern challenge and had their good moments in the game, although Luxol managed to open a considerable double digit lead in the third quarter, only for Floriana to pull up their socks once again and managing to come quite close.
The finals got off with sharp long distance shooting from Luxol as four different players managed to respectively score early from downtown. In fact, import player Pierce Cumpstone (203-F-94, college: Stonehill), local foreigner William Ahlberg (91) and local youngsters Jean-Paul Schembri (182-G-92) and Keith Dimech (178-F-00) were all precise from behind the 6.75 metre arc.
However Floriana were not overawed and were also notching up their early points led by Canadian Chad Patus (203-F-87, college: Belm.Abbey) who had eight personal points, including two treys. Shorly afterwards Floriana also managed to take the lead after a Dirk Schembri (193-F-85) close range basket and this marginal lead was maintained till the end of the first quarter, 18-16.
Luxol started winning the defensive boards in the second quarter and had their towering pivot Samuel Deguara (223-C-91) more in the action and they overturned the score with a 13-2 run. Despite Floriana's treys from Patus and Nikola Vasovic (180-PG-92), who both played all throughout the match, there was still a nine point margin between the two finalists at the interval, 40-31.
Luxol maintained their tempo when play resumed and led by their trio Cumpstone, Deguara and Ahlberg, who all were on the court for the whole 40 minutes of playing time, they had another positive run, this time 14-2, to open a hefty plus twenty lead, 54-33.
Floriana did not throw in the towel and they retorted with nine consecutive points, managing also to bring down some offensive rebounds and the margin came down to 60-46 at the end of the third quarter.
The last quarter produced the most points of the lot. Floriana put in a good effort to try to claw back into the game and were momentarily managing to find their way to the opponents' basket and an 11-2 mid-quarter run moved the greens closer to their adversaries. However Luxol did not let the game slip away and obtained some important hoops and controlled the final moments of the game.
Game 2 of this best-of-five Finals series will be played tomorrow at 7.30pm.
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