Article published on 03 April 2012
Depiro Mtarfa 69
Floriana Fr. Fenech 52
(11-15, 18-12, 19-17, 21-8)
When Greg Hamlin went out on fouls before the end of the third session, everybody thought that the writing was on the wall for Depiro. Everybody. that is, except the great-hearted Depiro Maltese lads. They literally subdued Floriana in the remaining time denying them any reasonable approach to save the match. Now everything depends on the remaining rubber next Saturday when the finalists will be known from this encounter.
Both sides were at their respective strengths for this second playoff match. Depiro made the better start with two Hamlin hoops in a 6-2 advantage. Floriana had Evan Fjeld from early on with his points as they grabbed a slim lead. Roderick Vella reacted for Depiro with his triple but the Greens ended the session on a three basket spread finishing with a brace of Fjeld baskets as they went ahead for the second time.
In the next period Fjeld extended Floriana’s advantage but Depiro, despite Hamlin’s third foul, made up a solid 12-0 run with a Nigel Sultana trey and two more in quick succession from Adrian Micallef. The Greens were stung into action and more Fjeld points and an Adrian Baldacchino triple had them on level terms. Depiro still pushed forward and they eked out another advantage. Till the end of the period. Floriana obtained a couple of hoops but at the interval they were still trailing a basket behind at 27-29.
After the break. Floriana overturned the score twice but then Depiro retaliated with an 9-2 run and a second Vella trey. Floriana were coming back when Depiro had a slap in the face with Hamlin being fouled out. The Greens promptly were level with an Ian Mercieca triple but Depiro replied with Sultana hoops in a three basket spread to lead 48-44 with a last session to be played.
Floriana were all over the place as Depiro pounded them mercilessly and built up a heavy 14-0 run ending with a flourish with triples from Sultana and two more from Vella. The Greens were down and out although they tried to stage a comeback with an 8-2 run and a Chris Sammut trey. They were still away behind and Depiro played out the remaining time and adding on their already impressive advantage to force the third and last game in a week’s time.
Depiro: 14 R. Vella, 1 JP Schembri, 13 N. Sultana, 2 A. Aquilina, 2 A. Portelli, 17 A.Micallef, E. Lupo, M. Mallia, 6 I. Tanti, 14 G. Hamlin
Floriana: J. Curmi, 5 C. Sammut, 3 I. Mercieca, S. Sammut, 6 C. Calleja, 3 A. Baldacchino, 29 E. Fjeld, 4 A. Sultana, 2 M. Ciantar
Referees: A. Carbonaro, S. Gouder, C. Terribile