Published Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Floriana Francesco Fenech won their direct encounter with Depiro Mtarfa to book a place in the Division One play-offs. Siġġiewi obtained the victory they needed against Loyola Tata Motors while leaders Athleta A-Z Electronics staged an incredible comeback against BUPA Luxol.
Depiro Mtarfa 82
(16-18, 19-15, 15-17, 20-20, 12-15)
In a balanced and exciting match, Floriana edged clear of Depiro in extra time after the lead had changed hands several times.
Buoyed by their victory over Athleta, Depiro enjoyed the better start, racing into a 10-4 lead after five minutes.
Gradually, Floriana came more into the picture and free-throw conversions by Evan Fjeld enabled the Greens to go 18-16 in front at the end of the first quarter.
Floriana went on to stretch their advantage to five points, 28-23, but Depiro fought back with a number of three-pointers giving them a 35-33 lead at half-time.
The match remained balanced after the interval with both teams tied at 50-all at the start of the last 10 minutes.
With six minutes left, Depiro opened a 61-54 lead. Things looked grim for Floriana when Fjeld missed a dunk and at the other end, Roderick Vella reeled off a three-pointer.
But the Greens refused to throw in the towel as they potted two crucial three-pointers late on to take the match into extra-time.
In over-time, Floriana relied on Fjeld, who finished with 46 points, as they surged ahead.
Depiro had their chances but Nigel Sultana missed two crucial free-throws as coach Mario Tabone suffered his first defeat.
Depiro: R. Vella 26, J.P. Sammut, N. Sultana, A. Aquilina 7, A. Portelli, A. Micallef 18, E. Lupo 4, M. Mallia, I. Tanti 6, G. Hamlin 21.
Floriana: J. Curmi, C. Sammut 18, I. Mercieca 12, S. Sammut 6, C. Calleja 2, A. Baldacchino, E. Fjeld 46, A. Sultana, M. Ciantar 1.
Referees: B. Vassallo, G. Barbara, S. Gouder.