Published on Tuesday, February 14, 2012
(9-15, 19-14, 14-19, 31-20)
Not for the first time this season, Siġġiewi faded in the final seconds after leading for most of the game.
Depiro, under the guidance of new coach Mario Tabone, seemed unable to hit back but suddenly Greg Hamlin clicked into gear to galvanise his team-mates and set up a dramatic finale.
Siġġiewi sorely missed injured playmaker Louis Camilleri and with few substitutes available, they tired out and lost their way at a very crucial stage when they threw away a 13-point advantage.
They had opened strongly to go 10-2 ahead. After a time-out, Depiro recovered to share the exchanges till the end of the quarter, 15-9.
Siġġiewi stayed in front until Alan Borg committed his third foul and had to be substituted. Depiro fought back but two Chris Maier free-throws allowed Siġġiewi to change ends 29-28 ahead.
Borg returned after the interval but two other fouls led to him being fouled out and Siġġiewi penalised with a technical foul for protests.
Depiro exploited their opponents’ troubles to go 36-32 ahead but Siġġiewi recovered and seemed heading to their third victory when leading 60-47 with five minutes left.
But then, a series of baskets by Hamlin, aided by some wayward Siġġiewi play, allowed Depiro back in and with seven seconds left, Jean Paul Schembri completed their comeback with a three-point ‘killer’.
Depiro: R. Vella 9, J.P. Schembri 3, A. Aquilina 11, A. Portelli 6, A. Micallef 17, M. Mallia 6, I. Tanti 4, G. Hamlin 17.
Siġġiewi: R. Agius 4, E. Xuereb 2, A. Cutajar, A. Borg 10, K. Borg 13, C. Maier 19, M. Kodomaris, M. Matijevic 20.