The Malta Independent 20 January 2020, Monday

Basketball, BOV National League - Men 1 Div.: Depiro edge through, to second league win

Willie Vassallo Sunday, 8 December 2019, 19:56 Last update: about 2 months ago
Photos: James Galea
Photos: James Galea

Depiro    84    Hibernians    82             

(18-19, 24-30, 22-12, 20-21)

Depiro were beaten by the Paolites, in the Shield, but they made amends with this league victory, as they warded off Hibs' last desperate attacks, to clinch their win. Hibs looked the better side till the interval, but Depiro wiped off their deficit, to forge ahead, and even though they fell behind once more, they ended the match on a top note, to make it two wins in three league matches. Hibs seem to be missing the services of their injured Swede, William Ahlberg, still out, with a wrist injury.


Kurt Xuereb was on fire, at the start, for Depiro, beginning with a trey, and adding a further three buckets. The Paolites settled down, as David Bugeja sank a triple, as the lead see-sawed till the end of the period, which had Hibs just ahead, by a mere point. The second session saw the Paolites force their style of play in the match, with a 10-2 run, and treys, from Marco Matijevic and Luke Farrugia. Depiro bounced back, as Xuereb continued with his positive streak, and American, Quinn Cooper, began to pour in his hoops. Miguel Brincat came off the bench, to nail a trey, but the Paolites had Bugeja and Matijevic to counter, with the former netting a second triple, late in the session, for a 49-42 Hibs advantage, at the interval.

After the break, Depiro were still chasing at first, but as time went by, and they suffered another trey, from Hibs' Nikola Vasovic, they suddenly clicked, with an 11-2 run, as Cooper, also with a trey, and Czech, Adam Chomo, responded well. Vasovic sank another Hibs triple, but it was Depiro in front, at 64-61, at the last quarter's start.

Cooper made another early trey, with the Paolites on a tied score twice, before going in front, with Serbian, Ivan Demcesen, points. Depiro regained their advantage, as Chomo and Brincat sank triples, with the Paolites coming back, with a late Matijevic trey, but Depiro managed to hold out and register their second league victory.

Depiro: M. Todorovic 8, Q. Cooper 31, M. Naudi 4, D. Farrugia 2, N. Grech, O. Said, K. Xuereb 18, M. Borg, M. Brincat 6, J. Attard, A. Chomo 15, A. Attard

Hibs: P. Attard, D. Bugeja 20, K. Caruana, L. Farrugia 5, I. Bonett, N. Vasovic 14, A. Axiaq 2, M. Matijevic 14, M. Attard, C. Rowe 8, I. Demcesen 14   

Referees: Z. Dobrosavljevic, I. Simic, L. Camilleri


Luxol    83    Starlites GIG    91   

(30-25, 15-28, 15-17, 23-21)

Starlites fare well when facing Luxol, as they have now beaten them on four previous occasions. This latest effort, between two sides who had lost their opening two matches, took Starlites off the bottom league position, leaving the Violets languishing there alone. Both sides had a foreigner missing, Luxol's Serbian, Slavko Opojevlic, and Starlites' Serbian, Ivan Kumric. Starlites' American, Konor Kulas, was practically unstoppable, till the interval, but found things tougher, till the end of the game, but then the other American, Jeremy Marseille, took over, to keep his side on a comfortable lead. At the other end, there was Luxol's Serbian, Vukasin Jandric, piling up the points, and JP Schembri nailing his triples. A sour note, in the second period of play, saw Luxol's Stefan Cappello being ejected from the match, with a disqualifying foul.

Points were a-plenty in the opening session. Luxol had Jandric, Schembri, with his brace of triples, along with Keith Dimech, to provide the points, whilst Kulas, also with a trey, with Marseille, and a Matthew Scerri trey had Starlites chasing their opponents, and keeping their deficit low. In the next session, Starlites pushed forward, with an early 12-0 run, and Scerri and Robert Bonnici triples. Francesco Mifsud Bonnici also netted a triple, for Luxol, but then Cappello was lost. Kulas kept on sinking his hoops and free throws, as Starlites established an advantage. Jandric also was keeping Luxol in touch, with his points, and Juan Cefai came off the bench, to make his trey, but the Violets were still 45-53 in arrears, at the interval.

After the break, there was a lull in scoring, with both sides seeming to take in their breath. There were still half a dozen triples sailing in, evenly distributed. Keith Dimech put in two for Luxol with another from Schembri, while Starlites had Bonnici, Scerri and Alec Felice Pacemaking theirs. Starlites could bank on a good 70-60 advantage, going into the last quarter. The play was balanced at first, with Luxol replying every Starlites point, and early treys, from Starlites' Ryan Carabott, and Luxol's Schembri. Midway through the period, Starlites made the game theirs, as they embarked on a solid 12-5 run when Marseille stood out for Starlites, and Schembri sank his fifth trey, for the Violets. With the match safe, Starlites sent in their bench players, with Luxol managing to end the match with a 9-0 run, and a Jandric triple, but they didn't have enough time to make up the necessary leeway.

Luxol: J. Cefai 3, V. Jandric 30, P. Engelbert, K. Gauci, F. Mifsud Bonnici 9, JP Schembri 20, K. Dimech 15, I. Pace 4, L. Trapani , S. Cappello 2   

Starlites: A. Felice Pace 7, R. Bonnici 13, I. Felice Pace, M. Fabri, M. Falzon , M. Scerri 9, R. Carabott 5, K. Kulas 37, J. Marseille 20

Referis: K. Dworniczak, I. Simic, S. Jafilica

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