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Watch: Maltese Abroad: Return to play for Cassar as Falzon’s Riders win BBL regular season

Kurt Cassar in action for Janus Fabriano.

After around three weeks away from the court due to COVID-19 quarantine, Kurt Cassar and Janus Fabriano returned to play last weekend. Another regular-season champion emerged as Aaron Falzon became the first-ever Malta international to win the BBL regular season on Sunday. The Times of Malta Sportsdesk looks at Cassar, Falzon, and other Maltese professionals plying their trade overseas in another segment of ‘Maltese Abroad’.

ITALY

Kurt Cassar featured for 17 minutes on Sunday as Janus Fabriano faced the struggle of regaining form after an absence of around three weeks because of numerous positive COVID-19 cases within the club which saw them also be forced to forfeit their place in this year’s Coppa Italia.

The side lost 68-62 to Vega Mestre as Cassar scored two points, assisted one and grabbed eight boards.

Janus Fabriano fell to fourth place with this loss, and due to having missed a number of games, but they face UEB Gesteco Cividale on Wednesday before playing against Belcorvo Rucker San Vendemiano on Sunday.

UK

Aaron Falzon. Photo: Leciester Riders

Aaron Falzon made history over the weekend as he became the first-ever Malta international to win the BBL regular-season championship with the Leicester Riders. The Riders, who were the title holders of the league, were confirmed for a playoffs seed for a while but go into the postseason tournament in May as the top seed.

The side also finished off the week with two wins after having fell 86-81 to the London Lions on Wednesday. Their final two games, against the Glasgow Rocks and Cheshire Phoenix, were blowouts as Leicester beat Glasgow 93-67 and Cheshire 65-97.

Flazon scored two points in five minutes in the loss on Wednesday but could only contribute by grabbing boards in the weekend games.

The side will play the Bristol Flyers – the side fellow Falzon Brother Tevin had played with in 2018 – in the quarter-finals of the BBL Playoffs, starting Monday.

AUSTRALIA

Alex Formosa (right) in action for the Altona Gators youth team.

Youngest Formosa brother Alex contributed to a win for the youth Altona Gators as the side beat Geelong United 92-107 on Saturday. Alex scored a point from the line but grabbed four boards, a steal and made an assist in 18 minutes.

Nick Formosa continues to get double-digit games as he scored 14 in his last outing for the Altona Gators on Saturday as the side beat the Wangaratta North East 68-78. Formosa played for 37 minutes, also grabbing five rebounds and making an assist. The side, currently first in the Big V Division Two championship ladder, face Mildura on Sunday.

The eldest Formosa brother Jacob will have to wait to play again after the Joondalup Wolves had their games postponed due to a three-day lockdown.

Jacob Formosa making it to the NBL1 top 10 plays ⭐️

Although, 2 behind the back passes followed by a dunk by Joel…

Posted by Wolfpack Basketball on Thursday, April 22, 2021

However, the Malta international managed to make the NBL One West’s Top-Ten plays of the week for his steal and Fastbreak layup against the East Perth Eagles.

JAPAN

Sam Deguara’s Tokyo Excellence suffered their first back-to-back losses over the weekend as Aisin Aw got their revenge with 58-79 and 80-93 wins which sent Tokyo down into third in the standings.

Deguara scored six in 20 minutes on Friday, while grabbing seven boards and making two blocks. He scored five the next day, as he played for 14 minutes and also grabbed another four boards.

The side face the Saitama Broncos next on Thursday and Friday.

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