The Malta Independent 18 February 2020, Tuesday

Basketball, Men's BOV National League: Starlites now in tied top spot; century win for the Greens

Willie Vassallo Sunday, 13 January 2019, 20:18 Last update: about 2 years ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Starlites GIG     74     Hibernians     79

 (25-15, 18-16, 16-18, 15-30)

The champions inflicted the first league defeat on Starlites, and now the losers have company in the top placing, along with Athleta. Hibs came from a heavy third quarter deficit. They did this with captain, Serbian, Marco Matijevic, staying on the bench, whilst four other foreigners made the major part of the winning points. Starlites seemed on their way to a fifth straight victory, when their opponents were way behind, but some complacency set in, coupled with the introduction of a bench player, who normally is just a spectator. Hibs recovered grandly, and gained more confidence, to record their victory, which didn't seem likely, some time before. Starlites were first off the blocks, with an 11-3 start, and American, William Darley, and Robert Bonnici triples. Bonnici was in top form, throughout the encounter. The Paolites recovered, to creep nearer, as Bonnici sank a second Starlites' trey. Starlites still held sway, as American, Andrew Sears, points took them to a double figure lead. In the second period Hibs were falling further behind, as Ryan Carabott netted a Starlites triple. The champions fought back, to reduce the arrears, as Spaniard, Alvaro Lizaur, sank a trey. Last second free throws, from American, Cameron Ward, had Starlites 43-31 in front, at the interval.


After the break Hibs' efforts to draw nearer were foiled, as Nick Formosa netted a trey, and later on a 7-0 run, with another Bonnici triple, took Starlites to a maximum advantage, at 59-40. The champions pulled points back, with a 9-0 run,as they finished the session 49-59 behind. In the last quarter Starlites first extended their lead, with a ward triple, but Hibs stormed back, making up a heavy 14-0 run, with Roderick Vella putting in a brace of treys, with another, from Lizaur, in between. The champions went ahead, but a Darsley three-point play had Starlites regaining their lead. Hibs followed up with another 10-0 run, and another Lizaur trey, with Starlites reeling from shock. Late Cameron points were not enough for Starlites, as the Paolites held out, to venture near the top of the standings, with a game less.

Starlites: O. Psaila, N. Formosa 3, R. Bonnici 18, I. felice Pace, C. Ward 12, M. Falzon, A. Felice Pace 2, R. Carabott 5, M. Scerri, A. Sears 10, W. Darley 17, J. Stotts 7  

Hibs: R. Vella 11, P. Attard , K. Sultana, L. Farrugia , M. Formosa , I. Bonett 2, L. Tardito 14, A. Axiaq, M. Matijevic, A. Lizaur 20, I. Demcesen 16, C. Cuschieri Patus 16 

Referees: T. Mantere, Z. Dobrosavljevic, K. Dworniczak


Floriana MCP Car Parks    108     Balkan Fusion     59

(27-4, 23-13, 32-10, 26-32)

Floriana are now on a par, with Hibs, both sides having a game less, but well placed on three victories, from four matches. Both sides have a deferred game, against each other, at the end of the month. The Greens dominated the encounter, beating the Balkans, for the second time, after an Independence Cup match. They had Clayton Calleja indisposed. The Balkans were a changed side, with a better bench than before. Nikola Andrejevic was back abroad, and Nikola Vasovic is now with Athleta. They had two new faces, in Nemanja Despotevic and Nebojsa Konienic, with Nemanja Radicevic returning, for the first time this season. Patrick Walk was back from abroad, and two new locals, in Thomas Grech and Miguel Gauci Montaldo.

At first Floriana's opening points had replies from the Balkans, but later on the Greens struck strongly, with no further answers from their opponents. Floriana made up a session ending 19-0 run, as David Bugeja and American, Ian Thiesen put in their points, the latter also with a late trey. In the next session the Balkans began to react, but Floriana still managed to extend their advantage further. Kieron Caruana came off the bench, to nail a couple of triples, along with another, from Thiesen, and Belgian Gael Hulsen, increased the Greens' lead. The Balkans had Walk leading their charge, but they were still at a distance, at the interval, trailing badly, at 17-50.

After the break Floriana were again ruthless, marking up a long 18-0 run, before the Balkans could react. Spaniard, Ignacio Arias, netted a Floriana triple, and so did Konienic, for the Balkans. Bugeja, Thiesen and Hulsen helped the Greens, to a steady 82-27 lead. In the last session the century was a foregone conclusion, reached by a David Agius hoop, as he made the most of his time on court. , along with Thiesen and Bugeja. Walk obtained most of the Balkans' points, with Grech nailing a last second triple, to close off the game.

Floriana: S. Pace, D. Bugeja 23, I. Arias 5, S. Borg, K. Caruana 11, K. Liivamagi 6, Ian Thiessen 36, K. Xuereb, G. Hulsen 19, D. Agius 8 

Balkan: N. Radicevic, N. Despotevic 5, N. Bozovic 11, T. Grech 9, P. Walk 19, A. Schembri 4, M. Gauci Montaldo, S. Todorovic 2, N. Konienic 5, N. Kovacevic 4

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