Title holders Hibernians will face Gżira Athleta in the best-of-5 playoff final for the BOV Basketball First Division League.
MBA President Paul Sultana, BOV Chief Officer Peter Perotti addressed the Media accompanied by Mario Tabone, coach and Chad Patus, player for Hibernians with Sasha Dimitrijevic, coach and Peter Shoullts, player for Gzira Athleta during a press conference held before the commencement of the playoff series.
‘We are once again on the verge of the most exciting period of the year’ said Paul Sultana. ‘The playoff series will be the last one where we see 3 foreign players on court, and we will also see the local players who have made a marked improvement since the beginning of the season playing alongside the more experienced foreigners.’
BOV Chief Officer reiterated Bank of Valletta’s commitment to local sports especially to basketball, a relationship that can be traced for over 40 years. ‘We take this opportunity to wish both teams the best of luck in the final and we will be following the series and eventually crown the new champions’.
‘It is hard winning the league. It is even harder to defend your title’, was the Hibernians’ coach comment. ‘The increase in the number of foreigners have changed the landscape of the year, and whereas last year we started out as favourites, we believe it is a much more level playing field this year. Since Athleta got their new foreign players in January, we have only played them once, and we lost so they might know us better since we are basically the same squad as last year. However I believe that the team has the right chemistry and determination to repeat last year’s success.’
Athleta coach Sasha Dimitrijevic, on his first year in Malta said that he has a lot of respect for his opponents and their team experience. ‘I believe the teams are very balanced and it will be the best game-plan of the day and the cohesiveness of the team that will determine the victory. The 5 game series will test the fitness and resilience of both teams and we believe that we can be the ones to raise the trophy this year.’
‘We are sure that we will have a series of intense battles on our hands’ said Hibernians’ Chad Patus. ‘We will stick to our game plan, which we are convinced will be a determining factor. Having basically the same squad as last year, we have the advantage of team chemistry, however Athleta have proven to always rise to the occasion and we will need to bring our A-game to retain the trophy.’
‘We started the competition on the wrong foot, but the new foreigners signed by our club in January have completely changed the landscape of our performances,’ said Peter Shoults. ‘We have a deeper bench and the wider rotation of the local players will increase our play options making us more dangerous, with the option of fresher legs on court.’
The best-of-5 Playoff Final will be held as follows (all games at Ta’ Qali Basketball Pavilion)
Game 1 - Thursday 25th April 2019 – 1930hrs
Game 2 – Sunday 28th April 2019 – 1615hrs
Game 3 – Wednesday 1st May 2019 – 1615hrs
Game 4 – Sunday 5th May 2019 – 1615hrs
Game 5 – Sunday 8th May 2019 – 1930hrs
The Final Best-of-5 series for the BOV Basketball Amateur League will be contested between Gżira Athleta and the winner of the semifinal between Starlites and Siggiewi will be played as follows
Game 1 – Friday 3rd May 2019 – 1930hrs
Game 2 – Monday 6th May 2019 – 1930hrs
Game 3 – Friday 10th May 2019 – 1930hrs
Game 4 –Tuesday 14th May 2019 – 1930hrs
Game 5 – Saturday 18th May 2019 – 1500hrs