Published Tuesday, March 13, 2012
BUPA Luxol have dropped out of contention for the play-offs after an upset to rivals Depiro Mtarfa on Sunday. In other matches from the championship, Siġġiewi obtained a priceless victory over Floriana as leaders Athleta just managed to edge Loyola.
Depiro Mtarfa 72
BUPA Luxol 71
(21-12, 22-19, 12-15, 17-25)
Depiro consolidated their top-four placing but for Luxol, this was a costly defeat as they have missed out on the play-offs for the first time in several years.
Luxol had enough chances to overturn the result but missed a series of shots or gave away possession at crucial moments.
Despite hitting 51 points, Jerome Belin was unable to see Luxol through as John Tabone’s side dropped to their fourth consecutive defeat in the second round.
Luxol’s defence was at sixes and sevens at the start of the match and Depiro potted the first seven points through Andrew Aquilina.
They led 21-12 at the end of the first quarter and though Luxol showed some improve-ment after that, Depiro still changed ends 43-31 in front.
Greg Hamlin came more into the picture after the break, helping Depiro to start the last quarter 54-46 ahead.
Luxol stepped up their game as the last 10 minutes ticked away and a Belin shot from outside the arc reduced the deficit to three points – 54-51.
Strangely, Luxol were unable to maintain the pace and wasted easy baskets, allowing Depiro to open a seven-point lead (61-54) with five minutes left.
Depiro did not miss a shot from the free-throw line to frustrate Luxol who did not attempt a three-point shot at 72-69 down in the last few seconds.
Depiro: R. Vella 10, J.P. Schembri, N. Sultana 2, A. Aquilina 15, A. Portelli 6, A. Micallef 18, E. Lupo 5, M. Mallia, G. Hamlin 16.
Luxol: J.C. Cordina, M. Mercieca 11, J. Belin 51, A. Micallef Trigona, L. Ross 9, A. Costa, N. Vasovic, T. Paris, M. Attard Montaldo, E. Caruana Montaldo, J.P. Bonnici, S. Capello.
Refs: B. Vassallo, G. Barbara, E. Mangani.