Luxol: CJ Cordina 17, M. Mercieca 4, J. Maistre Melillo, JP Schembri 3, K. Dimech 12, P. Cumpstone 22, S. Deguara 16, S. Cappello 2 Depiro: D. Bugeja 18, R. Bonnici 8, D. Schembri, A. Aquilina 9, DJ D.J. Mason (198-F-94, college: Campbell) 30, T. Zammit, M. Mallia, A. Quiros 10, K. Xuereb 14, M. Borg , D. Scafidi Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, C. Farrugia Game Notes: Partial Score: 5' 11-5, 15' 34-28, 25' 50-55 35' 71-75; Shooting: FT: L: 8/15, D: 16/23; 2Pt: L:22/46, D: 23/44; 3Pt: L: 8/21, D: 9/20; Rebounds: L: Def 24, Off 10, D: Def 28, Off 16; Fouls: l: 18, D: 16; Fouled out: none.
The weekend's top of the table clash resulted in a Cynergi Depiro victory as they brawled back from a significant first quarter deficit to a minimal second half lead which they maintained and increased till the final buzzer. This victory puts them at the top of the standings with two games to go till the end of the regular season. In the search of their fifth consecutive win, BUPA Luxol had a very strong start, opening an early double digit lead, with Samuel Deguara (223-C-91) fully in command under both boards, assisted by Pierce Cumpstone (203-F-94, college: Stonehill), and guard CJ Cordina raining in treys. Depiro recouped their form in the second quarter led by their import centre D.J. Mason who looked quite focused on his game and his mid range points as well as long distance shots from Andrew Aquilina (185-G-89) and Robert Bonnici started diminishing the margin between the two sides to a bare mimimum, 42-41, at the interval. The lead went Depiro's way at the start of the second half and although Luxol came back with points from youngster Keith Dimech (178-F-00), short range hoops from D.J. Mason and Alvaro Quiros helped Depiro to a 10-2 run. Luxol were now shorn of Deguara, who was on the bench with foul trouble, and also missing their Swede William Ahlberg (91). Yet Cumpstone was fighting hard to keep them in the game for a 60-66 score line with a quarter to go. The last ten minutes were a tight affair. Depiro started replying to every Luxol effort until consecutive treys from Aquilina and D.J. Mason helped Depiro to a lead which they controlled and even increased with late free throws when Luxol were trying to stop the clock.
Hibernians 53 Gzira Athleta 65 (14-17, 13-20, 14-13, 12-15)
Hibs: P. Attard, M. Hampton, E. Xuereb, L. Farrugia 7, S. Attard, I. Bonett, K. Sultana, A. Micallef 8, M. Matijevic 7, S. Vella, F. Mariani 4, A. Lizaur 27 Gzira Athleta: M. Naudi 23, R. Vella 9, D. Camilleri, M. Williams 8, P. Shoults 9, F. Mifsud Bonnici, B. Zammit 5, S. Vincic, J. Whitehead 11 Referees: E. Mangani, Z. Dobrosavljevic, I. Marjanovic Game Notes: Partial Score: 5' 4-10, 15' 18-27, 25' 34-43, 35' 48-58; Shooting: FT: H: 6/10, A: 16/20; 2Pt: H:19/44, A: 20/61; 3Pt: H: 3/20, A: 3/11; Rebounds: H: Def 34, Off 12, A: Def 31, Off 17; Fouls: H: 12, A: 15; Fouled out: P. Shoults (A) 39'
Gzira Athleta joined Luxol in the second spot in the standings after a merited win over Hibernians with the latter now only facing a knotty situation to make it to the playoffs as they need full points from their remaining three games to stand a fair chance. After a fairly balanced first quarter where Hibs also took a momentary early lead, the same lead was firmly snatched by Gzira Athleta in the second one and Hibernians always faced an uphill task in their endeavour to try and get back into the game. Michael Naudi (193-G/F-80) had a positive showing in this half assisted also by his fellow locals Roderick Vella (180-PG-85) and Peter Shoults (168-G-85) whilst Hibs had Spaniard Alvaro Lizaur battling under the opponnets' basket. There was a ten point spread between the two teams at the interval and this margin remained even till the end of the third quarter. Hibs did manage to creep in, albeit momentarily, closer at the start of the last quarter but Gzira Athleta quickly regained their superiority with points from their American import Josiah Whitehead (198-F-86, college: Robert Morris) who is now joined by a further import in Athleta's ranks, the 213cm towering ex England under-20 international 'Mike' Morakinyo Williams (213-C-88, college: Citadel, agency: Interperformances) who joined Athleta late last week from French regional league side Saint Francois. The 28 year old from Solihull also had some playing time and grabbed some points in this match to help his new side to the fifth league win.
Floriana MCP Car Parks 94 Starlites Naxxar 72 (23-15, 16-18, 32-13, 23-26)
Floriana: C. Patus 25, S. Pace 22, S. Borg 8, N. Vasovic 6, C. Calleja 10, A. Axiaq 6, A. Micallef Trigona 5, N. Andrejevic 12 Starlites: I. Mitrovic 15, R. Carabott 4, L. Vella, A. Schembri 2, M. Azzopardi, M. Falzon 2, A. Felice Pace 6, N. Stankovic 16, J. Formosa 27, M. Vella, I. Felice Pace Referees: B. Vassallo, C. Farrugia, I. Marjanovic Game Notes: Partial Score: 5' 15-8, 15' 33-23, 25' 58-41, 35' 78-66; Shooting: FT: F: 9/16, S: 15/23; 2Pt: F:32/62, S: 21/48; 3Pt: F: 7/14, S: 5/26; Rebounds: F: Def 49, Off 18, S: Def 22, Off 4; Fouls: F: 19, S: 16; Fouled out: S. Pace (F) 30'
Floriana returned to winning ways as they registered a double over Starlites and revived their hopes for a playoff spot. Although practically always in the lead in the first half, Floriana's win was cemented after a superior performance in the third quarter spurred by a precise Shawn Pace (175-SG-90) who hit Starlites badly with a series of hoops. Pity that the same guard had to somewhat mar his upbeat feat by getting fouled out after passing uncalled for comments to the game officials. Starlites did try to stage a comeback in the last quarter but Floriana managed to shun any problems The greens got off on a good footing through baskets from Chad Patus (203-F-87, college: Belm.Abbey) and although Starlites replied through Jacob Formosa (188-G-97) and Nikola Stankovic (196-C-97), Floriana still were comfortably in front, 23-15 at the end of the first quarter. The margin came down to six points, 39-33, at the interval after Starlites had hoops from Serb Ivan Mitrovic. After the change of ends, Pace burst out offensively and his points were music for the greens as they extended their lead to plus 25, 71-46 with ten minutes to go. Alhtough Starlites did react with a 13-0 run, Floriana were not to be perturbed and points from Nikola Andrejevic, as the winning team closed off with a good 3-point percentage ratio, fully ascertained their victory.
BOV Division 1 Men Semi Final Play-Offs Game 1 BOV National League - Men 1 Div. P/O S/F 1 Gzira Athleta 61 Bupa Luxol 81 (26-18, 9-30, 10-23, 16-10) Gzira Athleta: M. Naudi 11, R. Vella 1, D. Camilleri 12, M. Williams 12, P. Shoults 13, F. Mifsud Bonnici, B. Zammit 10, L. Stefanovic, S. Vincic, M. Gauci Montaldo, J. Whitehead 2 Luxol: CJ Cordina 6, M. Mercieca, M. Sjoberg, D. Meli, J. Maistre, JP Schembri 17, K. Dimech 2, W. Ahlberg 9, P. Cumpstone 30, S. Deguara 17, S. Cappello Refere... [read more]
BOV Division 1 Men Semi Final Play-Offs Game 1
BOV National League - Men 1 Div. P/O S/F 1 Gzira Athleta 61 Bupa Luxol 81 (26-18, 9-30, 10-23, 16-10) Gzira Athleta: M. Naudi 11, R. Vella 1, D. Camilleri 12, M. Williams 12, P. Shoults 13, F. Mifsud Bonnici, B. Zammit 10, L. Stefanovic, S. Vincic, M. Gauci Montaldo, J. Whitehead 2 Luxol: CJ Cordina 6, M. Mercieca, M. Sjoberg, D. Meli, J. Maistre, JP Schembri 17, K. Dimech 2, W. Ahlberg 9, P. Cumpstone 30, S. Deguara 17, S. Cappello Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, I. Simic
BUPA Luxol opened up the series against their arch rivals Gzira Athleta with a hefty 20 point win thus taking the first psychological lead in the five game series. The game had various facets although Luxol's 21-3 in the central 8 minutes of the third period was a highly influential factor in the game. Gzira Athleta had a dream start netting seven consecutive shots from downtown with David Camilleri (SG) on fire with four treys, aided with a brace of similar long distance shots from Peter Shoults (168-G-85) and another from Michael Naudi (193-G/F-80). In these early minutes, Luxol's reply came from Samuel Deguara (223-C-91) who used his height advantage with clsoe range baskets and 3-pointers from Pierce Cumpstone (203-F-94, college: Stonehill) and Jean Paul Schembri. Late free throws from Naudi and Brit Morakinyo Williams (213-C-88, college: Citadel, agency: Interperformances) who came off the bench to counter Deguara in height, helped Gzira Athleta to end the first quarter 26-18 ahead. The lead changed hands midway in the second quarter after Schembri had a personal 8-point run, including two treys. Although Athleta reacted momentarily, a similar 8-point run, this time thanks to Cumpstone helped Luxol extend their lead further to a 48-35 half time score. The third quarter was characterised with Luxol's 21-3 run, started off by William Ahlberg (91), a run that helped them open a 69-40 lead. The last quarter had Gzira Athleta trying to reduce the margin with Williams finding a better touch at close range but Luxol were in control and took home the first win in the series.
Cynergi Depiro 63 Floriana MCP Car Parks 60 (11-18, 20-10, 9-13, 23-19) Depiro: N. Grech, D. Bugeja 8, R. Bonnici 17, D. Schembri, A. Aquilina, D.J. Mason (198-F-94, college: Campbell) 25, T. Zammit, M. Mallia, A. Quiros 2, K. Xuereb 9, M. Borg, D. Scafidi 2 Floriana: C. Patus 23, S. Pace 3, S. Borg 8, N. Vasovic 16, C. Calleja, A. Axiaq 10, A. Micallef Trigona, N. Andrejevic Referees: E. Mangani, I. Simic, I. Marjanovic
A 3-point shot from the left corner of the court by Robert Bonnici, just a second from the final buzzer, determined this first semifinal in favour of Cynergi Depiro who managed to also neutralize a double digit deficit in the last four minutes. In fact, Floriana seemed to have found the right touch after taking the lead at the end of the third quarter and then opening a 10-point lead, in three instances, up to 54-44 with four minutes to go. Yet Depiro had other thoughts and five 3-pointers, two from Bonnici on either side of three consecutive treys from D.J. Mason, reopned the game. The start of the game was in Floriana's favour with hoops from Anton Axiaq (190-C-91), Shawn Pace (175-SG-90) and Nikola Vasovic (180-PG-92) helping the greens open a 16-7 lead and later to a maximum 22-11 advantage. Depiro's reply were two 10 point runs which helped them change ends with a small 31-28 lead which was extended to 38-28 as Floriana hit a dearth of points in the first six minutes. The greens however went from one extreme to another as they, led by Chad Patus (203-F-87, college: Belm.Abbey)' shooting, then had a 15-0 run spread over six minutes between quarters as it was Depiro who hit a six minute barren patch. D.J. Mason stopped Floriana's run with his first basket on his way to a personal tally of 14 points in the last quarter yet the greens still managed to hold on to 54-44. The late Mason 3-pointers tied the game in the dying seconds. Floriana fluffed their last possession coming off a time-out and Depiro made good use of this turnover with Bonnici sinking the killer trey with one second to go.
Gzira Athleta are the BOV Basketball Men's 2nd Division Champions - 4 days ago
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Today Athleta obtained their third consecutive win over Marvels Power Plus for a 3-0 victory in the best-of-5 playoff final. Athleta won with a scoreline of 61-38, however Marvels kept toe-to-toe with Athleta in the first half of the game, ending the first session 14-13 and the second session 26-23. Athleta piled on the pressure gaining a 14 point advantage in the third quarter, ending it 43-29 and ending the game with a 23 point margin. Peter Perotti, Chief Officer at Bank of Valletta pr... [read more]
Today Athleta obtained their third consecutive win over Marvels Power Plus for a 3-0 victory in the best-of-5 playoff final. Athleta won with a scoreline of 61-38, however Marvels kept toe-to-toe with Athleta in the first half of the game, ending the first session 14-13 and the second session 26-23. Athleta piled on the pressure gaining a 14 point advantage in the third quarter, ending it 43-29 and ending the game with a 23 point margin. Peter Perotti, Chief Officer at Bank of Valletta presented the champions with their medals and trophy. Kwame Thompson (G) was selected by the sports media as the most valuable player (MVP) of the final scoring 33 points in the game. He was presented with a commemorative plaque by BOV Chief Officer Peter Perotti. Courtesy of: mba.org.mt
The NBA is experiencing a gilded age. Clubs have never been more valuable, television contracts have never been more lucrative, and investors are chomping at the bit to invest in the league. One of the reasons The Association has been turned into a license to print money is basketball is played all over the world, especially in Europe. Next to football, there's not a more popular team sport on the globe. It's interesting that on the world stage, basketball is second to football. Yet, in... [read more]
The NBA is experiencing a gilded age. Clubs have never been more valuable, television contracts have never been more lucrative, and investors are chomping at the bit to invest in the league. One of the reasons The Association has been turned into a license to print money is basketball is played all over the world, especially in Europe. Next to football, there's not a more popular team sport on the globe. It's interesting that on the world stage, basketball is second to football. Yet, in the United States, it's third behind American football and baseball, but well ahead of MLS (Major League Soccer). Just how popular is basketball overseas? How common is it for a European to buy Cleveland Cavaliers hoops tickets when they plan on traveling to the U.S. for example? Or how about to the Lakers or the Celtics? We know there are leagues in countries like Russia, Italy, Spain, and Germany. Yet, there are also leagues in countries like Slovenia, Luxemburg, Malta, and Montenegro. Those are four of the ten smallest countries in Europe. Slovenia, the largest of the four, is the size of New Jersey. Below, we take a closer look at three leagues that are currently helping to popularize the sport of basketball, and indirectly, its greatest league, the NBA.
The top league in Malta, a country about the size of Lubbock, Texas, is the Powerade League Bank of Valletta Division 1. Their playoffs are scheduled for late March. In one matchup, Cynergi will battle Floriana. In the other, Athleta takes on Bupa. While we're talking about Bupa, in their last regular season game they blew out Hibernians, 118 to 58. It reminds me of the time in November of 2015 when the Golden State Warriors crushed the Memphis Grizzlies, 119 to 69. Marko Todorovic is the league's top scorer. He averaged 27 points a game during the regular season.
You may have seen James Augustine, Kenny Boynton, Jeremy Evans, Cory Higgins, Robbie Hummel, Aaron Jackson, and Jacob Pullen play in college and/or the NBA. Now, you can see them play in Russia. The world's largest country's first tier of professional club basketball is the VTB United League. The league is sponsored by VTB Bank. The VTB was founded in 2008. Its goal is to bring the top clubs of Eastern and Northern Europe into one league. Right now, the VTB contains teams from Russia, Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, and Latvia. Nonetheless, if you win the VTB League you're known as basketball champions of Russia. The VTB's top team is PBC CSKA Moscow. They are nicknamed the 'Red Army.' CSKA players that have also laced them up in the NBA include Andrei Kirilenko, Darius Songaila, Gordan Giriek, Nenad Krsti, and Dragan Tarla. Iceland
Even Iceland, Europe's most sparsely populated country, has a professional b-ball league. The Premier League, officially called the Domino's League, after its sponsor Domino's Pizza, is highest level of competitive basketball played in the Nordic island nation. The league contains teams like Skallagrimur, Snfell, and Njarvik, as well as nine more. Don't worry, there are also teams without tongue-breaking names, like KR, KFI, and IR. My favorite team is Thor Thorl from orlakshoefn. Their starting shooting guard is American Tobin Carberry. He used to play for the LIU Post Pioneers. KR and IR are from Reykjavik. They are the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers of the Domino's League. Each team has won 15 league titles-tied for the most all-time. KR has won the last three championships. Prominent American hoopsters that have balled in Iceland's Premier League include Stew Johnson, J'Nathan Bullock, Justin Shouse, and Nick Bradford. Current American players include Atkinson Jeremy, Cedrick Bowen, Aaron Brown, and Myron Dempsey. The league was founded in 1951.
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