Malta Basketball Association president Paul Sultana said that the increase in number of teams in this season’s domestic competitions is a testament to how much the game has grown in popularity in the last few months.
Speaking during a news conference, during which the draws of the men’s KO competitions were held, Sultana said having more players involved in the game will no doubt increase the level of competition and make the game more entertaining for the fans.
“The early signs look that this season is going to be another hard-fought campaign between all participating clubs,” Sultana said.
“If you come to the Ta’ Qali Pavilion during the weekend you can witness a remarkable growth in the number of players that are involved in our competitions. If you look at the youth competitions, we have seen an increase in the number of teams in the U-16, U-14 and mini-basket competitions.
“Such growth mirrors the fact that there is more interest in the game and that can only help to boost the future of our sport. We may not be attracting huge crowds yet at the Pavilion, but I believe that we are still early in the season and as the matches become more competitive, I’m sure that the fans will come and watch the matches.”
The basketball season has already got under way with the MBA Shield competitions for both men and women’s teams.
This season’s competition presented a novelty with introduction of a new format which sees a 75-point threshold for a win in the men’s competition and 55-point win format for the women.
“There has been a mixed response to this format,” he said.
“Our thinking behind this format was to have matches being won by a winning shot and provide something different from other competitions.
“This format works particularly well when there are two teams of a different class as it limits the point difference between the two teams. When matches are closer there has been criticism as maybe players would have preferred to play the full regulation time.
“But at the end of the season we will sit down and analyse this format with the clubs and see if we continue with it or make any changes.”
In the women’s competition, the MBA this season have given permission to Fusion Quest, a team formed by Serbian players, to compete as guests in the women’s league.
“In Malta there are a lot of foreigners who are working here and are interested in playing basketball,” Sultana said.
“It’s quiet a big community and we need to find ways to help them getting involved in the game as they can give a valid contribution to the development of basketball in Malta.
“We are planning to give these foreigners who have been living in Malta for at least three years a homegrown status so that as from next season they can play as if they were Maltese players.”
MEN’S KNOCK OUT
1. Gżira Athleta vs Luxol 13.00
2. Depiro vs Mellieħa 16.30
Winner Match 1 vs Starlites 13.00
Winner Match 2 vs Hibs 16.30
Men’s Amateur KO
Mellieħa vs Depiro Hoops 18.15
Depiro Swish vs Shamrock 20.00
Winner Match 1 vs Starlites 13.45
Winner Match 2 vs Fusion 15.30
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