Published on Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Basketball followers must wait until Saturday to know the two teams that will contest the league final after Siġġiewi and Depiro Mtarfa won the second leg of their respective semi-finals to force a decisive third game.
Depiro Mtarfa 69
Floriana Francesco Fenech 52
(11-15, 18-12, 19-17, 21-8)
Despite being handicapped by Greg Hamlin’s fifth foul with 12 minutes left, Depiro Mtarfa held their nerve to topple Floriana and level their semi-final series.
In a balanced start, Evan Fjeld’s baskets gave Floriana a 15-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
After Floriana obtained the first basket of the second session, Depiro enjoyed a 12-0 scoring run to go 23-17 ahead. Floriana recovered to narrow the deficit to a single basket, 29-27, at the interval.
Although their shooting was generally wayward, Floriana levelled the score at 42-all when Depiro’s Hamlin committed his fifth foul. Yet, Nigel Sultana’s baskets bolstered Depiro as they began the final 10 minutes four points ahead, 48-44.
One expected Floriana to take advantage of Hamlin’s exit but with their playmaker Chris Sammut having an off day, it was Depiro who netted a series of three-pointers to pull clear of the Greens, 62-44. Floriana tried to make a comeback but they lacked inspiration as the uncompromising Depiro held out to set up a decider.
Depiro: R. Vella 14, J.P. Schembri 1, N. Sultana 13, A. Aquilina 2, A. Portelli 2, A. Micallef 17, E. Lupo, M. Mallia, I. Tanti 6, G. Hamlin 14.
Floriana: J. Curmi, C. Sammut 5, I. Mercieca 3, S. Sammut, C. Calleja 6, A. Baldacchino 3, E. Fjeld 29, A. Sultana 4, M. Ciantar 2.
Referees: A. Carbonaro, C. Terribile, S. Gouder.