With most championships at the business end of the season, the Maltese players abroad continue to deliver. Sophie Abela received praise from Otero Rattlers coach Landon Steele, who referred to her as ‘the ultimate competitor’, while Sam Deguara continues to rack up big numbers in Tokyo. Mikela Riolo’s CD Magec Tias have survived the drop with their latest win. The Times of Malta Sportsdesk looks at Abela, Deguara, Riolo, and other Maltese professionals plying their trade overseas in another segment of ‘Maltese Abroad’.
Sophie Abela added to her string of impressive performances for the Otero Rattlers with double-digits and the game-winning assist in a 70-68 win over Western Nebraska Community College.
Abela scored 19 on Friday, grabbed three boards, while stealing one and blocking another against Western Nebraska.
The next day, the Rattlers faced the OJC Alumni and Abela scored five as the side won 95-72. She assisted one make, got two rebounds and a steal.
The team is now 11-2 on a nine-game winning streak and face Northeastern Junior College next, on Monday.
Sam Deguara’s Tokyo Excellence added another two wins to their now eight-win streak after beating the Toyoda Gosei Scorpions at home on Saturday and Sunday.
In their first of the back-to-back games on Saturday, the Excellence cruised past the Scorpions 90-81 but Deguara was mostly rested, playing for around 10 minutes, and scored all three attempts for six points while grabbing two boards.
On Sunday, the side went one step further with a 108-74 win. This time, Deguara played for around 19 minutes and made up for the lost scoring from the day before with 20 points – 10 out of 11 makes (90.9 FG %) – and getting seven rebounds.
This weekend, the sides meet again for another two games, this time in Aichi, as the Excellence aim to retain their winning streak.
Mikela Riolo’s CD Magec Tias have secured their place in next season’s Lega Femenina 2 with their 82-58 win over AD Cortegada on Saturday.
Riolo was part of the team for the game after a number of absences and got her first point from the charity line in around five minutes of play.
Having joined in the summer, the former Starlites player has found it tough to break into the team during her first season overseas.
Riolo was however, one of the ‘coaches for the day’ on Tuesday as senior team players Maria Delgado, Camille Giardina and herself participated in training sessions for the youth teams.
Magec Tias face Extremadura Miralvalle Plasencia on Saturday.
As they move closer the Italian Cup in April, Kurt Cassar’s Janus Fabriano secured yet another win to stay top of the Italian Serie B Group C, on Saturday, as the side beat Unione Basket Padova 59-72.
Now a regular starter for the team, Cassar bagged two points and grabbed two boards in 11 minutes.
Janus Fabriano face Virtus Basket Padova on Wednesday. (Tip-off: 8.30PM)