Ath­leta for the first time

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Ath­leta won the first hon­our, in this cat­e­gory, this sea­son, but it was also the first time that they have won this hon­our, af­ter be­ing beaten fi­nal­ists five sea­sons ear­lier. As had hap­pened in their semi fi­nal win over Sig­giewi, the pro­tag­o­nist was their Amer­i­can import, Kwame Thompson, who poured in his points through­out the match, to help his side to draw away with each pass­ing ses­sion, leav­ing Mel­lieha no room to make any come­back, in the last stages of the en­counter. For Mel­lieha it was their third de­feat in this fi­nal, along with two suc­cesses, in 2006 and 2008.

Thompson be­gan early, with a hoop and a trey, as Ath­leta kept a small ad­van­tage for some time, de­spite Robert Lo­porto hoops for Mel­lieha. That was un­til Ath­leta made up a bet­ter 9-2 run, to draw clear. Mel­lieha made a re­ac­tion, with Emanuel Lupo in the fore­front, but they could only share the points, as Ath­leta opened up a good lead. In the next period Mel­lieha trieds to creep closer, but Ath­leta were in no mood to con­cede their ad­van­tage, and a 70 run helped them on their way. Mel­lieha's next two hoops had Ath­leta's an­swer, with an­other 70 run, and a Ste­fan Vin­cic triple. Ian Ter­ri­bile also net­ted a trey for Mel­lieha, but his side had fallen back, to a 30-41 deficit, at the in­ter­val.

Af­ter the break Mel­lieha were still fac­ing Thompson's con­stant points, and a Francesco Mif­sud Bon­nici trey put Ath­leta fur­ther in front. Mel­lieha man­aged a 7-2 run, mainly from freethrows, but late Mif­sud Bon­nici points had Ath­leta coast­ing, on a 58-44 ad­van­tage, go­ing into the last quar­ter.

A per­sonal 8-0 Ri­hards Po­lis run, for Mel­lieha, start­ing with a trey, had the losers on a more re­spectable score. Af­ter the match the MBA pres­i­dent, Paul Sul­tana, pre­sented the win­ning tro­phy to the Ath­leta skip­per, Joshua Aquilina, as Ath­leta grabbed the sea­son's open­ing hon­our in this di­vi­sion.

Mel­lieha: R. Po­lis 16, M. Far­ru­gia 6, R. Lo­porto 11, J. Mus­cat , I. Ter­ri­bile 5, B. Aquilina 4, D. Miani 9, E. Lupo 13, B. Soler

Ath­leta: M. Giusti 5, F. Mif­sud Bon­nici 12, J. Wait 7, J. Aquilina, L. Ste­fanovic 3, M. Gauci Mon­taldo, D. Buha­giar , K. Thompson 45, C. Galea, S. Vin­cic 3, M. Cilia 2, C. Schem­bri

Ref­er­ees: E. Man­gani, S. Mi­callef, Z. Do­brosavl­je­vic

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