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Hibs outlast Mellieħa to climb to third

Mellieħa’s Peter Shoults (left) goes for the basket against Depiro. Photo: Wally Galea

Mellieħa reach Knock-out semis

Hibernians 84
Mellieħa LIBERTAS 67

(16-24, 25-15, 17-10, 26-18)

In the midweek game, Hibernians managed to register their third win in the BOV Men’s League to join BUPA Luxol in a shared third spot in the standings after defeating Mellieħa Libertas Spalding who were coming off a win over Luxol.

Mellieħa had beaten Hibernians, after overtime, in the opening match of the league campaign but could not repeat this as the Paolites held more firepower in this game.

Hibs introduced their new import player, American guard Mason Vires, and had the return of Italian Luca Tardito.

Although being fouled out quite early in the game, Vires had a strong showing and ended as his side’s top scorer with 23 points while team-mates Keith Dimech and Nikola Vasovic shared 29 points between them.
Mellieħa did have a good start, even if for this game, they were still without the services of American centre Julius Brooks, and even took the lead with Vukasin Jandric being on song early on.

Following treys from Peter Shoults and Isaac Bonett, Mellieħa were 32-20 ahead but then Hibs started finding their offensive touch and gradually overturned the score. With Ivan Demcesen also using his height under the boards, they were close to a double-digit lead with one quarter to go.

A 12-3 run in the final quarter closed off the game completely with Mellieħa also opting to rest their main players in the closing stages of the game ahead of their KO quarter-final against Depiro.

Hibs: M. Vires 23, P. Attard, D. Bugeja 10, L. Farrugia 3, K. Dimech 14, N. Vasovic 15, A. Axiaq 2, L. Tardito 9, M. Attard, I. Demcesen 8.
Mellieħa: A. Schembri, M. Falzon 2, V. Jandric 30, D. Camilleri, M. Fabri, I. Bonett 8, M. Gauci Montaldo 2, K. Skrabec 9, M. Azzopardi 4, P. Shoults 12.
Referees: B. Vassallo, K. Dworniczak, V. Nikolic.

Standings

Starlites Naxxar GiG 5/0; Gzira Athleta 3/4; BUPA Luxol/Hibernians 3/3; Mellieħa Libertas Spalding 2/5; Depiro 2/3.

Big KO win for Mellieħa

Mellieħa LIBERTAS 79
Depiro 69

(18-21, 13-17, 19-18, 29-13)

This quarter-final had two major facets.
After a balanced first quarter and a half, Depiro seemed to find the right composure, and whilst showing better ideas, they enjoyed a consistent, albeit not large, margin.

Matters reversed significantly in the last five minutes of the game when Mellieħa took the upper hand, closed off the game, and booked a semi-final tie against Gżira Athleta tomorrow at 2pm, with a strong 18-2 run.

T.J Atwood gave Depiro the first lead but Mirco Azzopardi was on fire at the opposite end.

At the start of the second quarter, a brace of Nicholas Grech hoops helped Depiro to a 26-18 lead but Mellieħa were quick to hit back with sharp shooting from Vukasin Jandric and Peter Shoults apart from more buckets from Azzopardi.

However, it was still Depiro, even if not shooting with a high percentage from the long distance, who were enjoying most of the lead as Atwood was assisted by Cliff Thomas and Andy Attard.

Seven minutes from time, there were seven points separating the two sides, 64-57, after a Kieron Caruana bucket.

Here Mellieħa’s press started reaping dividends as Depiro committed certain turnovers and with Shoults and Isaac Bonett combining to share a 12-point streak, the score was overturned in the northerners’ favour.

With time running out, Depiro resorted to fouls to stop the clock but Mellieħa, who had the return of centre Julius Brooks after a month’s absence, kept their cool and shots from the charity line by Brooks and Jandric ascertained a place in the semis.

Mellieħa: A. Schembri, M. Falzon 1, V. Jandric 21, D. Camilleri, M. Fabri, I. Bonett 10, M. Gauci Montaldo, K. Skrabec 2, J. Brooks 6, M. Azzopardi 19, P. Shoults 20.
Depiro: TJ Attwood 15, C. Thomas 17, L. Vella, N. Pace, A. Attard 10, N. Grech 8, K. Caruana 12, M. Brincat 3, M. Mallia, A. Chomo 4, M. Debattista.
Referees: B. Vassallo, K. Dworniczak, D. Torok.

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