Flo­ri­ana beat Ath­leta at the fifth at­tempt

Malta Independent - - SPORT - Flo­ri­ana: Ath­leta: Ref­er­ees:

Flo­ri­ana MCP 83 Gzira Ath­leta 67 (15-17, 14-13, 36-11, 18-26)

It took Flo­ri­ana five games to get the bet­ter of Ath­leta, as they notched their sec­ond league vic­tory in a row. Ath­leta had lost to Hiber­ni­ans, in the first two days of the sea­son, in the In­de­pen­dence Cup, but then had tri­umphed in three com­pe­ti­tions, and are still on their way to an en plein in hon­ours won this sea­son. This time, though, they had to bow down to a de­ter­mined Flo­ri­ana out­fit, made up of seven play­ers.

It was a topsy turvy match, with an even bal­ance till the in­ter­val. Flo­ri­ana then ran riot af­ter the break, and opened up a stag­ger­ing ad­van­tage, which was nearly wiped out by Ath­leta, in less than four min­utes of play. Flo­ri­ana re­cov­ered in time, to draw away once more, and win by a hand­some mar­gin.

Flo­ri­ana be­gan well enough, as Nikola Vaso­vic, who played a blinder, net­ted a trey, as his side then led 9-4. Ath­leta set­tled down, made up a 9-2 run,with a David Camil­leri triple, to forge ahead for the first time. Flo­ri­ana twice tied the score, but Ath­leta were a hoop in front at the end of the ses­sion, with Josiah White­head putting in his points.

In the next pe­riod Flo­ri­ana put in an 8-2 start, to re­gain their ad­van­tage. Ath­leta first drew level, then later on were ahead once more, and al­though Flo­ri­ana tied the score, it was Ath­leta just ahead at the in­ter­val, on a slim 30-29 score, as the two sides evened each other out.

Af­ter the break there was a dif­fer­ent tale to tell. Flo­ri­ana came storm­ing out, as Chad Pa­tus sank a triple, and Vaso­vic poured in his points, in a 10-0 open­ing run. Shawn Pace also net­ted a trey for Flo­ri­ana, with Ath­leta manag­ing a brief 7-2 run, from Rod­er­ick vella and White­head, to halt the Flo­ri­ana surge tem­po­rar­ily, but there was no stop­ping the Greens, as they fin­ished off the ses­sion with a heavy 19-2 run, made his free shots, and Vella was fouled out for Ath­leta.

That gave Flo­ri­ana an un­be­liev­able 65-41 ad­van­tage over Ath­leta. At the start of the last quar­ter the tide turned dra­mat­i­cally, as Ath­leta were all over their op­po­nents.

They made up a solid 19-0 run, with a sec­ond Camil­leri trey and Michael Naudi points, which brought them well within the dis­tance, at 60-65. Flo­ri­ana re­cov­ered their wits, to net a 7-0 run, with a Pa­tus triple, which set­tled their nerves, and jolted Ath­leta back, who how­ever made more points, by naudi and White­head, but in be­tween Vaso­vic made his points, with an­other trey, and there was pre­cious lit­tle time left for Ath­leta to re­cover, with Flo­ri­ana mak­ing dou­bly sure, as they grabbed a late three hoop spread, to fin­ish off the match in style.

C. Pa­tus 25, S. Pace 7, S. Borg 12, N. Vaso­vic 35, C. Calleja 4, A. Ax­iaq 10, N. An­dreje­vic

M. Naudi 17, R. Vella 6, D. Camil­leri 6, L. Ste­fanovic , P. Shoults 13, B. Zam­mit 4, J. Bos , S. Vin­cic , M. Gauci Mon­taldo , J. White­head 21

B. Vas­sallo, C. Far­ru­gia, I. Mar­janovic

An­toine Ax­iaq of Flo­ri­ana MCP Car Parks (left) is chal­lenged by Josiah White­head of Gzira Ath­leta (right) Photo: Domenic Aquilina

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