Published Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Athleta A-Z Electronics collected their second honour of the season on Sunday after winning the St James Hospital pre-season tournament which was played on a reduced format at the pavilion.
The tournament saw the six Division One teams divided in two groups and all qualifiers played on Saturday.
The first group had each of the three teams winning once and lose the other match. A depleted Floriana Royce went down heavily to Depiro but the Greens then had the better of BUPA Luxol.
Luxol’s win came at Depiro’s expense and that meant that the two teams progressed to the semi-finals with Floriana ‘relegated’ to the classification matches.
In the other group, Athleta had fine victories over Remax Siġġiewi and newcomers Starlites who failed to make the cut to the last four.
The first semi-final was a balanced affair with Depiro just pipping Siġġiewi 52-50 to reach the final.
Depiro, with US player Turrel Morris in evidence, took an early lead which they preserved until half-time – 27-25. Depiro tried to distance themselves from their opponents after the break but Siġġiewi never gave up even though their efforts in the end were not enough to overturn the result.
Athleta’s place in the final was never in doubt notwithstanding Luxol’s comeback bid before half-time as they pulled back to 15-19.
Athleta, winners of the Super Cup the previous week, started the second half strongly to extend their lead to 25-17 and with Luxol fading in the last minutes they romped home to a 49-27 victory.
In the game for third place Luxol regrouped to beat Siġġiewi 52-44.
More was expected of Depiro in the final but after a promising start they ran out of steam as Steve Schembri, also aided by his team-mates, kept Morris under check.
Depiro were unable to raise their play and ends were changed with Athleta leading 23-12.
After the interval, Athleta continued to dictate matters as Depiro were still finding it difficult to create openings. In the end, Athleta won 40-28. Their Canadian player, Chad Patus, was the match’s top-scorer with 17 points.