The Malta Independent 25 April 2017, Tuesday

Women Playoff Finals: Gzira Athleta and Luxol to contest MAPFRE MSV Life Women Basketball Final

Thursday, 20 April 2017, 10:15 Last update: about 4 days ago

A press conference was held at Ta Qali, in the Basketball court, as regards the Play Off finals, for the Mapfre MSV Life National League Women's title.   Addressing the media were the MBA president. Paul Sultana, and the Chief Officer for Mapfre MSV Life Business Development, Michael Galea. With them were representatives of the two finalists. Speakers for Gzira Athleta were the Chairman, Women's Section, advocate Clarence Busuttil, and their American import, Amelia Simmons. The reigning champions, for the last three seasons, Caffe Moak Luxol, had their coach, professor Santino Coppa, and the team captain, Mandi Mercieca.  Mr. Sultana began by welcoming, and thanking Mapfre MSV Life, for their support in the Basketball sector.

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He expressed his thoughts on the finals, where he believes that there is a good balance to the finalists, and it could easily be taken to the deciding rubber.  Mr. Galea stated that this is the second year that they are involved with the MBA activities. They also have connections with the Arts, Culture and National Heritage, besides also being welcomed in the Sports sector.

He praised Mr. Sultana's abilities, to promote and increase interest in the Basketball discipline. 

It was then the turn of advocate Busuttil, who emphasised on the season's balance of play between the protagonists. He mentioned that the two sides have shared the honours, with Athleta winning the MBA Shield and the Louis Borg Cup, whilst Luxol have won the Independence Cup, the Super Cup and the K.O.  He stated that Luxol have been champions for the last three years, and they will do everything possible to take the league title to Athleta. Luxol's mentor, professor Coppa, said that he has an affinity with the Maltese, after the successes obtained, at the start of the Millenium, with the Women's national side. He had signed a contract, to coach in Thailand, where he had to start earlier this month, but after being contacted by Luxol, he has postponed his departure twice, and now will leave next May 6th. He militated for 28 years in Italian basketball, with many honours won, and now Luxol, is another adventure. He said that the side is losing their American player, Attirah Munir, who was injured in their last match, and will probably also miss the remaining finals.

He admires his players' commitments, especially Mandi Mercieca, who came out of retirement, for his sake.  Athleta's American player, Amelia Simmons, mentions that this is her second stint with the Athleta team, having played with them two years before. She feels that they are a united side, she mingles well with her team mates, and believes that they have a slight edge over their opponents, even though every match has a different story.  Afterwards there was the Lauxol skipper, Mandi Mercieca. She said that the present squad has been together for more than seven years, and they have more a good family atmosphere.  Luxol have always had a winning mentality, and experience will be a crucial factor for these finals, even though there is so much balance between the two side  The programme, for the finals, played on a best-of-five basis, is: Game 1  Thursday, 20th April 7.30pm Game 2  Sunday, 23rd' April 2.00pm Game 3  Thursday, 27th April 7.30pm Game 4  Saturday, 29th April 2.00pm Game 5  Monday, 1st May 2.00pm


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