Caffe Moak Luxol have been in fine form this season, leading the pack as the women’s league leaders and confirmed top seed for this season’s playoffs. However, one target which has eluded the title holders so far has been a cup trophy.
After their loss to Starlites FIJO in the Shield final in February, Santino Coppa’s clan will be looking to push for a chance at achieving a double this weekend with a double-header against the Fatih Dedelioglu-led ARMS Depiro on Friday (Tip-off: 8.15PM), and Sunday (Tip-off: 1.45PM).
Speaking to the Times of Malta, Luxol captain Mandi Mercieca believes their previous final defeat was a ‘wake-up call’ for the team after getting too confident during an impressive season.
“We have been doing very well on the whole during the season, and most of it is due to the consistency our younger players have shown during practice and games, with even the very young players stepping up when we needed them,” Mercieca said.
“We had a tough loss to Startlites in a Cup Final, which was a good wake-up call for us all, and now everyone on the team is doing that little bit extra to improve.
“We play each game to win, especially a final. We all want to see our hard work and dedication rewarded when it comes down to crunch time. We also have an additional motivation to win and dedicate to a player on our team who will be playing her last game of the season with us on Sunday due to situations beyond her control.”
Asked about the challenge coming from Depiro, who have also confirmed a playoff spot this season in third place ahead of the final gameday, Mercieca believes they will be a tough opponent on the day.
“Depiro are performing very well, they have shown good form and look very motivated. I expect them to put on a good challenge, and both games will be down to the final whistle.”
‘Energy is high’ at Depiro
Luxol’s opponents Depiro will be aiming to add to their success of making the playoffs with a trophy this weekend. Despite a battle against the league’s top seed, Depiro’s Australian import player Casey Samuels, who joined over the summer, believes her team has the perfect opportunity to showcase its talent.
“We have had a great week of preparation leading into the Louis Borg Cup finals and the energy is high within the group. We have been connecting and playing well, especially in the last month and we want to bring that same energy into the weekend and playoffs,” Samuels told the Times of Malta.
Accolades are motivation to every player and the forward made sure to emphasise how important this final will be for Depiro and herself while keeping in mind that Luxol will be looking to avenge their previous final defeat.
“Winning a cup is definitely important to us all. This weekend is going to be tough, but it’s important for us to stick to the game plan and execute everything we have spoken about. It’s a big chance for us to really show what we are capable of and come out hard.
“This isn’t Luxol’s first cup final. They are going to come out just as hard and push like they always do in any game. We need to keep our composure and do what works best for us.”
ROUTE TO THE FINAL
Caffe Moak Luxol vs Starlites FIJO 51-45 (Leg 1), 63-54 (Leg 2)
ARMS Depiro vs Hibernians 69-57 (Leg 1), 60-57 (Leg 2)
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