Last weekend was devoted to the quarterfinals of the Louis Borg Cup, a competition where ties are decided on the aggregate of two games played in the space of 48 hours.
Mellieħa Libertas, Depiro, and BUPA Luxol all qualified for the semifinals where they now join Starlites who got a bye.
Save for the clash between Mellieħa and Hibernians, the first leg results proved somewhat decisive in the other two ties as the second legs of each respective pairing resulted in a tied score, an occurrence which is not possible in normal games given that normally a tied game after regulation time would have to be then ultimately decided in overtime.
This is not the case in the Borg Cup as overtime would only be needed if the aggregate is tied after the second game.
Despite ending the second game at par, both Depiro and BUPA Luxol banked in their winning margin two days earlier to book their spot in the semi-finals.
Mellieha Libertas 196
The first game had both sides reaching the century mark and left all to be decided in the second leg.
Most of the lead in the first game was enjoyed by Mellieħa, with their largest margin being 66-54 midway in the third quarter after a Sebastian Valencia lay-up after a Hibs turnover.
However, the northerners only enjoyed a double-digit lead for a few moments as Hibs were always lurking close behind.
The Paolites had some moments in front, mostly in the first half, although they had a slender 88-87 lead, less than four minutes from the end, following a Luke Farrugia three-ball.
However, inspired by their top scorer Connor Zinaich, 41 points, Mellieħa again nosed ahead and closed with a three-point buffer.
Nenad Bukva had a positive contribution, ending with 14 points and four boards whilst Valencia brought down 11 rebounds and added 13 points.
Hibs had their centre Ivan Demcesen closely guarded even though he contributed 16 points and 14 rebounds. Import player Justin Bogle took over most of the offensive responsibility shooting at 62% precision for 30 points.
The second game had important absences from both ends. Mellieha had to do without Zinaich and Bugeja, both for medical reasons, whilst Bogle was nursing an ankle injury.
Mellieħa took an early command of the game going 20-4 ahead. Yet Hibs did recover.
However, save for 17 seconds early in the second quarter, when a Farrugia three-pointer brought the game to par, 22-22, Mellieħa always enjoyed the upper hand and then also looked well in the driving seat at the latter stages of the game, even if the Paolites never let go in their efforts.
Vukasin Jandric shot at 56% and closed with 28 points and six assists, Valencia had another double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds, and five steals.
Hibs relied a lot on Demcesen who fought hard under the boards having 36 points, 14 boards, and 4 blocks in the game.
MELLIEĦA LIBERTAS 103
(25-25, 21-19, 27-25, 30-31)
MELLIEĦA: M. Falzon, D. Bugeja 12, R. Bonnici 5, V. Jandric 11, I. Bonett 5, N. Bukva 14, N. Jovanovic 2, C. Zinaich 41, M. Formosa, O. Said, S. Valencia 13.
HIBERNIANS: N. Cassar 7, P. Attard 9, L. Attard, L. Farrugia 14, L. Borg, A. Axiaq 15, R. Aquilina, M. Attard 9, J. Bogle 30, M. Bezzina, I. Demcesen 16, G. Cassar.
Referees: B. Vassallo, Z. Dobrosavljevic, F. Ciurariu.
MELLIEĦA LIBERTAS 93
(17-22, 20-21, 25-25, 20-25)
HIBERNIANS: N. Cassar 15, P. Attard 3, L. Attard, L. Farrugia 5, L. Borg 5, A. Axiaq 14, R. Aquilina, M. Attard 4, M. Bezzina, I. Demcesen 36, G. Cassar.
MELLIEĦA: M. Falzon 9, R. Bonnici 12, V. Jandric 28, I. Bonett 10, N. Bukva 7, N. Jovanovic 5, C. Zinaich, M. Formosa, O. Said 2, S. Valencia 20.
Referees: B. Vassallo, G. Barbara, F. Ciurariu.
BUPA Luxol 174
GŻIRA ATHLETA 160
Luxol controlled the proceedings almost all the time in game one. They established an early double-digit lead after less than four minutes, 12-1, after a Jean Paul Schembri trey and then had a maximum 22-point lead on three occasions in the third quarter.
Athleta managed to reduce the final deficit in the first game to minus 13.
The boards battle was a determining factor as Luxol outplayed their opponents 52-22 here. Despite scoring no points, Marko Matijevic helped his team with 16 boards (as well as 3 assists), one less rebound than Tayler Mattos who added also 28 points and five assists.
Captain Trevian Bell, who played all the regulation time, had 69% shooting for 26, eight boards, and three assists. Schembri was quite precise from long-range netting five treys from six attempts.
For Athleta, Roland Griffin and Nathan Xuereb, both shooting at 47%, shared 45 points and both had three assists similar to youngsters Isaac Xuereb and Jordan Ellul Dowling.
Luxol opened a double-digit lead early in the second game and seemed in control even though Gżira Athleta managed to react positively in the latter stages of the game to also end the game at par.
Once again Luxol outrebounded Athleta, this time 56-34 with Bell, Mattos, and Matijevic sharing 35 boards apart from 53 points.
Athleta’s Griffin and Henry van Hark played all the game with Van Herk grabbing 15 rebounds apart from 17 points whilst Griffin scored 45 points.
GŻIRA ATHLETA 71
BUPA LUXOL 85
(14-24, 12-20, 28-23, 17-18)
Athleta: H. Van Herk 13, F. Mifsud Bonnici 1, N. Buhagiar 2, P. Shoults 8, L. Stefanovic, J. Ellul Dowling, N. Xuereb 18, R. Griffen 27, I. Xuereb, R. Abela, I. Medved 2, B. Zammit.
Luxol: J. Cefai 6, N. Vasovic 10, M. Sciberras, T. Bell 26, N. Engelbert, JP Schembri 15, A. Trapani, L. Trapani, V. Englin, T. Mattos 28, M. Matijevic, S. Cappello.
Referees: N. Azzopardi, F. Ciurariu.
Bupa Luxol 89
Gzira Athleta 89
(24-13, 21-26, 24-23, 20-27)
Luxol: J. Cefai, N. Vasovic 17, M. Sciberras 1, T. Bell 20, N. Engelbert, JP Schembri 7, A. Trapani 3, L. Trapani, V. Englin, T. Mattos 22, M. Matijevic 11, S. Cappello 8
Athleta: H. Van Herk 17, F. Mifsud Bonnici 4, N. Buhagiar 3, P. Shoults, L. Stefanovic 2, J. Ellul Dowling 2, N. Xuereb 13, R. Griffen 45, I. Xuereb 3, R. Abela, B.
Referees: I. Simic, Z. Dobrosavljevic, N. Azzopardi
Depiro Hoops 137
The draw had the two Depiro outfits, playing in the first and amateur divisions respectively, facing each other.
The first game had Hoops enjoying a first-half lead, including a maximum 19-10 advantage after a 13-0 run concluded by points from Adam Chomo, Chad Patus, and Giorgi Lebanidze.
Depiro’s second outfit also had Miguel Baldacchino and Andy Attard sharing 14 points in the game.
Depiro’s top squad then took control of the game in the second half opening a double-digit margin in the final quarter.
They did the same thing for the good part of the second game until they mellowed their efforts in the final part of the game and Hoops took advantage to bring the game to par with good streaks from their end.
Nicholas Grech ended as his side’s top scorer with 21 points in the second leg, three more than Kameron Rooks who played just 16 minutes after notching 30 points and 27 boards two days earlier in game one.
Depiro Hoops 58
(19-12, 13-21, 10-18, 16-12)
Hoops: D. Pisani 4, D. Camilleri, A. Attard 6, H. Agius 2, N. Muscat, A. Chomo 20, M. Baldacchino 8, C. Patus 8, G. Lebanidze 10, J. Flagel.
Depiro: S. Galea 5, J. Micallef, A. Aquilina 5, N. Grech, K. Rooks 30, M. Brincat 12, M. Mallia, C. Cornelius 7, A. Micallef, M. Debattista, K. Caruana 9.
Referees: N. Azzopardi, F. Ciurariu.
Depiro Hoops 79
(20-16, 23-11, 20-21, 16-31)
Depiro: S. Galea 2, J. Micallef, A. Aquilina, N. Grech 21, K. Rooks 18, M. Brincat 11, M. Mallia 1, C. Cornelius 12, A. Micallef, M. Debattista 3, K. Caruana 11.
Hoops: D. Pisani 4, D. Camilleri 8, A. Attard 5, H. Agius 8, N. Muscat, A. Chomo 25, M. Baldacchino 7, C. Patus 8, G. Lebanidze 11, J. Flagel 3.
Referees: I. Simic, F. Ciurariu, F. Fabok.
BUPA Luxol vs Starlites Fijo
Depiro vs Mellieha Libertas
Matches to be played on February 24 and 26.
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