Men National Team starts with 2 victories in Gibraltar

Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 21:42

The Maltese National team under the guidance of Paolo Di Fonzo is currently in Gibraltar for the FIBA European Championship for small countries. In the first game of the competition Malta won against Scotland 87-82 after extra time. Malta started on a strong foot winning the first session 23-13 however there was a reaction by Scotland in the second quarter who recovered the deficit and went in for halftime two points ahead 37-39. Malta obtained the lead once again in the third quarter after two three pointers by Omar Said and Josh Jackson  together with a couple of baskets by Samuel Deguara. In the last quarter Scotland went ahead again in the 3rd minute 59-58 and with points coming on both ends of the court, everything was set for a close finale. Two Deguara free-throws gave Malta a four point lead with 51 seconds left but Scotland’s Jonathan Bunyan had the last 4 points of the game for a 72-72 score. The overtime period started with Malta taking a 3 point advantage 77-74 and the Maltese side held on strongly to the lead after scoring from the free-throw line by Naudi, Jackson, Steve Schembri and Anton Axiaq for a final score of 87-82. Malta’s top performers were Samuel Deguara with 25 points and 11 rebounds together with Josh Jackson with 24 points and Michael Naudi netted 18 points.

Following the extra time victory against Scotland,  Maltese Men National Team obtained the second victory against Wales 93-75 to secure a semi-final spot against the same Wales or the runner up of Group A. This victory also means that Malta won Group B ensuring another rest day before the finals stage. The first quarter was a balanced affair with both sides scoring continuously and the lead changing hands for several times. Malta opened a six point lead in the sixth minute 17-11 after treys by Darryl  Jackson and Omar Said and points by Samuel Deguara. Wales managed to reduce the gap to a basket late in the session 21-23 and that was the session final score. The second period was again very close and when the National team managed to open an 8 point lead after another Jackson three pointer, but the Welsh closed the session with an 11-5 run and half time Malta had a basket difference 43-41. During the third session Wales went ahead for the first time after a Jordan Seeley three pointer.  However it didn’t take too much time for the Maltese to go in front again after more points by Deguara, Said, Jackson and Michael Naudi to end the quarter five points ahead 62-57. The beginning of the last quarter sealed the victory for Malta with a solid 16-4 run including treys from Said and Jackson and strong defence with Deguara blocking the Welsh shots. Deguara scored a trey as well in the 8th minute as the Maltese team continued to control the game for a comfortable victory 93-75. Jackson netted 25 points for Malta including 4 three pointers. Omar Said had 5 three pointers in his 18 points and Samuel Deguara had 18 points as well together with an impressive 22 rebounds and six blocked shots.

 





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