Three in a row for Hibs
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Three in a row for Hibs

Hibs players and officials celebrate with their fans their victory in BOV Knock-Out final. Photo: Wally Galea

Hibs players and officials celebrate with their fans their victory in BOV Knock-Out final. Photo: Wally Galea

DEPIRO             87

HIBERNIANS   91

(13-28, 27-16, 21-15, 20-22, 6-10)

Depiro and Hibernians tussled for the KO trophy number 53 in history and what an interesting final it turned out to be. It was quite a pity one team had to end up on the losing end.

Both finalists were also searching for their fifth success in this competition with Hibs coming from two successive wins in the last two seasons whilst Depiro’s last triumph dated back to 20 years ago.

Finally, it was Hibs who managed to register a threepeat after a lengthy tussle against a very resolute Depiro side with the final having to even go into overtime as the score was at par, 81-a-piece, at the end of regulation time.

Hibs player Roderick Vella hits a shot against Depiro. Photo: Wally GaleaHibs player Roderick Vella hits a shot against Depiro. Photo: Wally Galea

Hibs had a very strong start as they cruised to an early double-digit lead, 17-3, after six minutes as a Luca Tardito initial hoop was followed by two long distance shots from Chad Patus and Alvaro Lizaur. Anton Axiaq and Roderick Vella also contributed to the points tally, the former with a close-range shot and the latter with three consecutive free throws.

After having to call an early time out, Depiro got their first points on an action with a Jack Nygaard floater which was then immediately followed with Trent Steen’s first jumper after three earlier free-throws.

Upon his entry on the court, Hibs’ pivot Ivan Demcesen notched two hoops and together with five other points from Vella, the Paolites regained their double-digit lead to a 28-13 scoreline at the end of the first quarter.

Depiro overturned the tempo at the start of the second quarter as they showed more offensive prowess and managed to neutralise the deficit within six minutes of play for a 30-30 score.

This was after a 27-2 streak with treys from Nygaard, Omar Said and Nicholas Grech.

It was now an open encounter with both sides replying continuously to each other although three treys from Patus, Lizaur and Luke Farrugia did help Hibs to end the first half with a 44-40 lead.

With Tardito and Lizaur having a warm hand and notching a series of hoops, Hibs managed to re-establish a double-digit lead midway in the third quarter to a maximum 63-50 lead after a Vella three-pointer.

Once again Depiro’s mentor Julian Naudi had to call an early time out which did help to stop Hibs’ run and then, late in the quarter, three consecutive hoops from Steen and Adam Chomo,with a buzzer beater dunk, reduced the margin to a single digit, 61-69, with the last quarter to go.

With Nygaard raising the team’s tempo, Depiro managed to quickly re-open the game and a Daniel Farrugia hoop made it a momentary one point game, 73-72, with six minutes to go.

Four minutes later Hibs were rejoicing after a Patus trey made it 80-75 but in came Keshaun Hamilton, at the other end, who had three buckets in a row and with Hibs not converting their last play, the end of regulation time did not determine a winner with the two finalists tied at 81-81.

Overtime was thus needed and the first part of these five minutes had Depiro in the lead as Nygaard was their point-getter helping the side to a 87-84 advantage with 100 seconds on the clock.

Patus established parity with an and-one play and then, in the last minute of the overtime period, Tardito and Patus did not miss their respective sets of two free-throws as Depiro were seeking to stop the clock.

BOV Chief Officer Peter Perotti, accompanied by MBA president Paul Sultana, presented the winner’s medals to the Hibs squad and then also presented the BOV Final MVP award, as chosen by the media, to the guard Roderick Vella.

It was then time for the KO trophy presentation as the Paolites’ non-playing captain Marko Matijevic received the silverware from Perotti amidst the merrymaking of the Hibs’ clan.

DEPIRO: T. Steen 27, K. Hamilton 8, J. Attard, D. Farrugia 2, N. Grech 4, O. Said 6, M. Mallia, M. Borg, J. Nygaard 32, A. Chomo 8, A. Attard.

HIBERNIANS: R. Vella 15, P. Attard,  K. Sultana, L. Farrugia 3, M. Formosa, I. Bonett, L. Tardito 14, A. Axiaq 11, M. Matijevic, A. Lizaur 19, I. Demcesen 6, C. Cuschieri Patus 23.

Referees: B. Vassallo, T. Mantere, Z. Dobrosavljevic.

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