A to Z Athleta 91
Depiro Mtarfa 49
Athleta finished off the first round of play with an emphatic victory over Depiro, a far cry from their slim win in the Shield, against the same opponents.
As it was, Depiro held a good advantage in the opening session, but then they were overhauled in the latter stages, and later on overwhelmed by an efficient side, who are as yet unbeaten this season. This does nor auger well for the teams, who are aspiring for some silverware later on, in the coming months.
Athleta had Clayton Calleja unavailable, and Alex Ryan back home in Wales. Depiro also had their Spaniard, Sergio Yuste, back in his homeland, for the festive holidays.
After Athleta’s opening hoop, Depiro took over, and after starting with triples, by Andrew Aquilina and Roderick Vella, they went on to a 9-0 run. Michael Naudi replied for Athleta, as he made all their early points, but his side was still in arrears, when Depiro nailed two more triples, from Vella and David Bugeja. Athleta then pulled themselves back in the latter stages, with a 9-0 run, which ended with an Omar Said trey, to tie the score.
Athleta kept on in the second period, with another 8-0 run, before finally being stopped by Vella, as he also made all his side’s six points of the session. Said grabbed two more triples, to begin a further solid 11-0 run, which took his side clear till the interval, as they opened up a steady advantage, with a 44-27 scoreline.
Depiro were still falling rapidly behind after the break, when Athleta were firmly in control, with their triples pouring in. There were two from Kristin Baldacchino, Said and Steve Schembri, as they pushed forward with purpose, with Depiro feeling the full pressure of their adversaries’ play. As if this was not enough, Athleta finished off the quarter with a three basket spread, to go into the last session with their minds at rest, on a 75-37 lead.
It was Etienne Bezzina with another triple for Athleta, although the points were not so plentiful as before at first. Vella put in his third trey for Depiro, but Athleta still had more up their sleeve. This time Depiro could manage a reply, but it was a lost cause, with such a huge deficit facing them.
Athleta: 19 M. Naudi, 2 J. Zammit, 7 D. Schembri, 7 E. Bezzina, M. Giusti, 2 C. Galea, 16 O. Said, 18 A. Bonnici, 9 K. Baldacchino, 11 S. Schembri
Depiro: 21 R. vella, 2 JP Schembri, 11 D. Bugeja, 3 A. Aquilina, 4 J. Gatt, J. Camilleri, E. Lupo, 4 M. Mallia, 4 I. Tanti, G. Mercieca
Referees: B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, A. Carbonaro