BUPA Luxol and Floriana MCP Car Parks will go head to head on Saturday in the first match from the best-of-five play-off final series that will determine the winner of the BOV Division One this season.
Paul Sultana, president of the Malta Basketball Association, told a news conference that he hopes that this final can bring the best out of both teams while it attracts more people to the game.
“We are looking forward to an exciting play-off final series,” Sultana said in the news conference at the Ta’ Qali Pavilion.
“Luxol and Floriana have proved their strength this season and I hope that we will witness some exciting matches that will attract more spectators at Ta’ Qali.
“The play-off final matches will be the last to be played on the Ta’ Qali court as at the end of the season we will embark on an ambitious three-month project to refurbish our facilities.”
Seeking their 13th title, Luxol coach John Tabone admitted that that the acquisition of the towering Samuel Deguara in December was a game-changer for his club as the seven-foot pivot transformed the team from a modest side to championship contenders.
“(Samuel) Deguara gave us a huge boost and courtesy of his performances, we became a winning team. We are confident ahead of the finals as we prepared every aspect of the match in order to be ready for any situation in the game,” Tabone acknowledged.
The Luxol coach also heaped praise on the likes of Willie Alhberg, which in his opinion, has developed into a more mature player this season, highlighting his ball handling characteristic as a pivotal trait of their side.
American Pierce Cumpstone, of Luxol, described his first experience in Malta as very challenging and was surprised with the quality of players he found here.
Floriana are chasing their second title and despite being considered as outsiders, they are up and running to challenge one of the best teams in the league.
“We qualified to the play-offs as fourth seed and have beaten teams which were better ranked than us,” Floriana president Ian Mercieca said.
“This has been achieved through a strong camaraderie and the fighting spirit that reigns in our roster.”
Mercieca indicated the absence of Shaun Pace, who injured his cruciate recently, as a heavy blow for their chances.
Chad Patus said that despite having their ups and downs throughout the regular season, Floriana feel they can give Luxol a good run for their money and produce some entertaining matches.
Sultana announced that following the successful introduction of the local foreigners rule, as from next season the MBA will allow the teams competing in the second tier to add another local foreigner.
In addition, there will also be a new side in the Division Two, composed of foreigners from Serbia, and Philippines, amongst others.
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