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Watch: Maltese Abroad: Lecuyer’s Riders make WNBL playoffs

Sasha Lecuyer in action for Charnwood College. Photo: Charnwood Riders.

This has been a terrific year for the Leicester Riders’ affiliate clubs this season – while the men’s senior team won the regular season and are on course for the playoffs title, NBL club Loughborough Riders will be another team in the playoffs this year, which means that Sasha Lecuyer becomes another Malta international to make the playoffs with her team. The Times of Malta Sportsdesk looks at Lecuyer, and other Maltese professionals plying their trade overseas in another segment of ‘Maltese Abroad’.

UK

Sasha Lecuyer and the Loughborough Riders will be pushing towards a trophy with the efforts in the WNBL playoffs this season after placing third in the regular season with a 12-5 record. They face the Reading Rockets in the quarter-finals on Saturday (tip-off: 2.30PM UK/ 3.30PM Malta).

The league was sealed off last weekend when on Saturday, the side beat Nottingham Trent University 75-73. Lecuyer scored three, while grabbing three boards and making two assists.

WATCH FULL GAME HERE

However, the Malta guard was also in action the next day, with another Riders affiliate – Charnwood College, who won their opener in the WEABL Summer showcase – the return to play for the lower divisions in the UK. Lecuyer scored eight as the team won 64-52 against the Derby Trailblazers. The side plays the Manchester Mystics on Sunday.

WATCH FULL GAME HERE

The WEABL Summer showcase also gave a debut to fellow Malta player Julia Borg who scored 18 points in her first appearance for Sheffield College despite the side losing 74-54 against the Nottingham Academy Wildcats on Sunday.

Borg had been held back from making her debut earlier because of UK COVID-19 restriction which saw all non-elite leagues cancelled, which meant that the Depiro player, on loan at Sheffield would return to Malta. She played the woman’s senior league with the local side before the announcement of the WEABL showcase in recent weeks.

Borg and Sheffield face the Derby Trailblazers next on Friday in their second game. Borg and Lecuyer are set to feature in the first battle of Maltese internationals abroad when Charnwood host Sheffield on June 12.

Aaron Falzon. Photo: Leicester Riders

In the upper echelons of British basketball, Aaron Falzon’s Leicester Riders have progressed into the BBL Playoffs semi-finals and are one step closer to the final after cruising past the Bristol Flyers last Wednesday and edging the Newcastle Eagles on Tuesday in the semi-final first leg.

Falzon scored 10 points in 16 minutes against his brother Tevin’s former side, while adding five rebounds as the Riders flew past Bristol to take the quarter-finals.

He was only utilized for three minutes on Tuesday however, as the Riders gave up a strong 11-point halftime lead against the Newcastle Eagles to finish 77-76 in the first leg of the semi-finals on homecourt.

The Riders play their second game against Newcastle on Thursday (tip-off: 5PM UK/ 6PM Malta).

ITALY

Kurt Cassar

Despite confirming their place in the Serie B playoffs this weekend, Janus Fabriano ended a tough marathon of games with two losses as the side lost 79-63 to Pallacanestro Senegallia and 84-62 against Falconstar basket last week.

Kurt Cassar, who had been on fire for the side on his return from COVID-19, scored six points and grabbed three boards against Senegallia last Thursday.

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He made up with another MVP performance on Saturday as he scored 16 and grabbed nine boards despite the loss to Falconstar.

Cassar will embrace the slight break from games before starting off his playoffs commitments this weekend as Janus Fabriano face Partenope Sant’ Antimo on Sunday.

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JAPAN

Sam Deguara. Photo: Tokyo Excellence

The Tokyo Excellence’s double-header last weekend was a mixed bag for the side as they lost their first game to Gifu Swoops 100-91 but got their revenge the next day with a 94-100 win.

Sam Deguara got a double-double on Saturday as he score 19 points and grabbed 13 boards in 24 minutes despite the nine-point defeat.

On Sunday, he did the same with 16 points and 13 rebounds in 24 minutes.

The Tokyo Excellence face the Tokyo Hachioji Bee Trains on Friday and Saturday.

AUSTRALIA

Jacob Formosa. Photo: Sports Imagery Australia

Jacob Formosa scored five points on the Joondalup Wolves’ return on Saturday – an 84-61 win against the Eastern Suns, after lockdown had postponed their previous game. He added six rebounds and three steals.

The team will play catch up with two games this week, with a game against the Warwick Senators on Friday and another against the Mandurah Magic on Saturday.

Younger brother Nick Formosa’s Altona Gators lost one on Saturday and won another on Sunday as the side remain first with a 9-1 record so far.

Nick score four points in 20 minutes in a 92-76 loss to Pakenham on Saturday. He added two rebounds and an assist.

The next day, he scored eight in around 25 minutes, with another two boards.

The Gators face Sherbrooke on Saturday.

Youngest brother Alex Formosa could only manage an assist, one board and a steal in an 95-83 Altona Gators Youth side loss to the Bendigo Braves.

The side faces two games this weekend with one against the Sherbrooke Suns on Saturday and the Hume Broncos on Sunday.

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