Article published on 16 October 2012
St James Hospital Shield (men)
by Willie Vassallo
AtoZ Electronics Athleta 69
Pavi Depiro 62
(27-13, 19-15, 2-17, 21-17)
Athleta had to do without Addison Bonnici and included Mihael Aleksandrov once more. They seemed well on their way in the first couple of sessions as they gradually built up a hefty advantage with Depiro finding difficulty in controlling their opponents. With Marko Todorovic and David Bugeja in fine form the champions went through their adversaries and after establishing a double figure lead in the opening period with Depiro having Nigel Sultana netting a triple Athleta improved on their score despite Depiro’s replies in the latter stages of the second session.
Athleta had Kristin Baldacchino nailing a trey with Omar Said sinking two more till the interval as the champions were resting pretty on a solid 46-28 advantage.
After the break it was a shambles for the champions as they were overrun by more determined opponents. Athleta were severely limited to just a single hoop after more than seven minutes of play and Depiro were right back in the match with their deficit going down to just three points at 45-48.
Depiro were still chasing hotly in the final session but a Bugeja triple started Athleta on the right track once more. Depiro still had fight in them but their deficit increased slightly and this was enough for the champions to hold on and then apply the final touch by easing away enough to make sure of the result.
Todorovic finished up with 20 points and Bugeja netted 18 more for the champions. Depiro had in Shawn Morgan the game’s top scorer with 24 points and Adrian Micallef scored 15 personal points.
Athleta: M. Naudi 3, S. Pace 2, D. Bugeja 18, M. Todorovic 20 , M. Giusti , S. Schembri 3, O. Said 11, K. Baldacchino 13, M. Aleksandrov
Depiro: R. Vella 4 , JP Schembri , N. Sultana 6, A. Aquilina , A. Portelli 6, D. Agius , A. Micallef 15, E. Lupo, M. Mallia , I. Tanti 7, S. Morgan 24
Referees: E. Mangani, A. Carbonaro, C. Terribile