Depleted Luxol still good enough against Starlites
Bupa Luxol 89 Starlites Naxxar 68 (25-21, 17-19, 26-15, 21-13)
For the second time in a row Luxol paraded a six man squad. They lost to athleta a week before, but this time they had the better of Starlites in an entertaining match, which had no less than twenty triples flying in. Luxol played to their limitations admirably, and managed to evade getting into serious foul trouble. As a result there were a number of players, from both sides with a good tally of personal points.
Luxol were bereft of players, such as CJ Cordina, Marco Mercieca, James Willoughby and Dean Meli, and the inexperienced Jamie Maistre Melillo had perforce to enter the court, when fouls piled up against Stefan Cappello and JP Schembri. Starliyes made just the one change, with Isaac Pace playing vice Luca Vella, but they also had Stefan Vella missing.
Luxol started off brightly, with an 8-2 lead, before Ivan Mitrovic netted his first trey for Starlites, with Keith Dimech doing the same for Luxol. Satrlites free shots had them very near, but JP Schembri and William Ahlberg sank their Luxol triples. More Starlites free throws followed, but the same Schembri and Ahlberg again made their treys, but in between Mitrovic nailed another for Starlites, who ventured near once more. In the next session Ahlberg put in another trey, with Starlites making up a 9-2 run, with another Mitrovic triple, to tie the score. Then it was Schembri and Pierce Cumpstone with treys for the violets, as they regained their advantage, which they held till the interval, despite Starlites' close contact with them. Luxol were leading 42-40.
After the break Luxol enhanced their advantage, and the triples began to fly in once again, with Jacob Formosa, Mitrovic and Nikola Stankovic for Starlites, and luxol reacting each time, through Ahlberg, twice, and Cumpstone. Luxol then went to a better 69-55 score, after an 11-0 run. In the last quarter Luxol improved their lead, with Starlites having Mitrovic and Formosa making further triples, in a 9-2 run. Sensing a Starlites revival, Luxol pushed forward, to make sure of the result, with a session ending 15-2 run, as Ahlberg and Cumpstone led the charge.
Luxol: J. Maistre Melillo, JP Schembri 12, K. Dimech 11, W. Ahlberg 30, P. Cumpstone 26, S. Cappello 10
Starlites: I. Mitrovic 26, M. Azzopardi, I. Pace, A. Schembri, C. Schembri, M. Falzon 6, A. Felice Pace 2, Z. Stankovic, J. Formosa 15, N. Stankovic 19, T. Grech
Referees: G. Barbara, S. Micallef, Z. Dobrosavljevic
Depiro chase lost cause, and win
Cynergi Depiro 83 Hibernians 79 after overtime (16-19, 14-18, 21-18, 21-17) (11-7)
It was an incredible feat by Depiro, who had defeat staring them in the face, in the very last stages of the match, but they never gave in, and they managed to stop the shot clock, as the Paolites failed their free throws continuously, with Alvaro Lizaur being the main culprit. But it must be said that Lizaur was a tower of strength throughout the match, notching up an impressive tally of personal points. To make matters worse for Hibs, they had the game in the bag, leading by four points, but with a couple of seconds remaining Depiro's David Bugeja was foolishly fouled in a three point attempt, which he sank. He then made the resulting free shot, to take the match into overtime, and the Paolites had to start all over again, but which they failed to finish, as it was Depiro with the victory, their first league win.
Depiro made the first inroads in the game, to go in front, and Andrew Aquilina also netted a trey. Hibs reacted well, to make up a good 13-0 run, which took them in front, even though Dominic Scafidi put in a brace of Depiro hoops at the end of the session. In the second period Hibs forged in front, with Lizaur netting a trey. Kurt Xuereb also sank a triple, for depiro, who were now trailing their opponents. The Paolites made up another 9-0 run, with a Luke Farrugia trey, to steer clear, but Depiro had Robert Bonnici coming up with two late treys, to cut down on their deficit, but they were still 30-37 behind, at the interval.
After the break Hibs held on to their advantage, with Depiro chasing them all the way, as Aquilina made a second triple. More treys, by Bugeja and Xuereb had Depiro just a point in arrears, but free shots had the Paolites 55-51 in front.
Hibs managed to open up their advantage, mainly through Marco Matijevic, with Depiro coming up with a 9-2 run, to go quite near, at 64-67. Lizaur points increased Hibs' lead, and they seemed safe, until Bugeja took matters in his own hands, and he achieved Depiro's objective of saving the match, which went into overtime.
Depiro were galvanised, as they had Aquilina twice nailing triples, and Bugeja free throws, to make up an advantage.
Late in the session Simon Attard sank a Hibs triple, but it was too late to save the match, with Timothy Zammit netting the free shot for Depiro, which definitely sealed the game.
Depiro: N. Grech, D. Bugeja 21, R. Bonnici 11, D. Schembri, A. Aquilina 12, S. Zammit, T. Zammit 1, M. Mallia, DJ Mason 23, K. Xuereb 10, M. Borg, D. Scafidi 5
Hibs: P. Attard, M. Hampton, A. Micallef 9, L. Farrugia 3, S. Attard 4, I. Bonett, K. Sultana, R. Carabott 2, M. Matijevic 23, F. Mariani 2, A. Lizaur 36 Referees: B. Vassallo, G. Barbara,
Alec Felice Pace of Starlites Naxxar (number 10 in blue) reaches first against BUPA Luxol. Photo: Domenic Aquilina