BUPA Luxol 84
Floriana 71

(25-12, 22-16, 23-18, 14-25)

BUPA Luxol made it a clean sweep of victories in this year’s BOV league final play-offs when they bagged their third successive win over Floriana MCP Car Parks to secure the title.

Sunday’s victory ended an eight-year title wait for Luxol who had last lifted the championship trophy in 2009. On that year they beat Sliema (today Gżira Athleta) 2-0 in the final.

Floriana took an early 5-3 lead but Luxol soon clicked into gear and a Keith Dimech three-pointer set them off on an important 19-2 run with Samuel Deguara starting to contribute offensive points with a number of free throws and Schembri hitting two consecutive treys.

At the end of the first period Luxol were 13 points ahead, 25-12.

Schembri remained on the mark as he had another two treys at the start of the second period and then, with Deguara and Pierce Cumpstone finding more space to bang in their points, Luxol extended their lead to 44-20 after 18 minutes of play.

Led positively by William Ahlberg, who had a quiet day in shooting but finished with six assists, Luxol started to feed the ball more to Deguara after the interval and the towering pivot made use of his height to set Luxol on a 9-0 run to increase their lead to a maximum 62-34 midway in the third quarter.

Deguara was pulled out after committing his fourth foul and that enabled Floriana to put in a reaction.

In fact early in the last quarter the Greens enjoyed their best moment in the game with 19-2 run that bridged the gap to 74-65.

Deguara was fouled out with three minutes to go and a Patus hoop had Floriana just eight points away, 69-77.

Yet, with the Greens failing to score in their next couple of plays, Pierce Cumpstone potted six points to seal Luxol’s victory.

At the end of the match, Bank of Valletta’s chief officer Peter Perotti and Malta Basketball Association president Paul Sultana presented trophies and medals to Luxol players.

Luxol: CJ Cordina 3, M. Mercieca 3, M. Sjoberg, J. Maistre, JP Schembri 17, K. Dimech 10, W. Ahlberg 3,  P. Cumpstone 21, S. De-guara 27,  S. Cappello

Floriana: C. Patus 13, D. Schembri 25, S. Borg 11, D. Agius, N. Vasovic 6, C. Calleja, A. Axiaq 11, A. Micallef Trigona 2, N. Andre-jevic 4

Referees: G. Barbara, E. Mangani, I. Simic.

Comments...

John Tabone (Luxol coach): “This championship was a deserved achievement at the end, yet it was somewhat unexpected at the beginning of the season.

“Our fortunes took a boost during Christmas when club president Edgar Caruana Montaldo succeeded in getting Samuel Deguara back with the club. This was an important twist in our favour as it changed Luxol from a modest side trying to make the play-offs final four into a potential championship contender.

“With the trio of Deguara, Cumpstone and Ahlberg our game became more secure and spectacular, in offence and most notably in defence. They guided us throughout the semis and more importantly during the finals.”

Marco Mercieca (Luxol captain): “I am obviously thrilled to bring back the league to Luxol after a number of years.

“It was a tough season, particularly at the beginning, but with Samuel in the team things changed completely and we had a great 2017 which was capped with a 6-0 win statistics in the play-offs run.

“On a personal note, this was my fifth league honour so I’m ending my career on a high.’

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