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Mellieha Libertas ‘hungry for a trophy’ says Bugeja ahead of Louis Borg Cup finals

Mellieha Libertas guard David Bugeja (right) holds the ball under the hoop. Photo: Wally Galea

The final of another local basketball cup is upon us and this weekend, the Ta’ Qali Pavilion plays host to Mellieha Libertas and BUPA Luxol in the Louis Borg Cup title battle.

The two teams face off on Friday (tip-off: 6.15PM), and Sunday (Tip-off: 3.45PM).

Both sides will be looking for the first title of the season, and with Christian Narciso’s clan having lost out to Starlites FIJO in the Shield in February, Malta international David Bugeja, in his first season at the club since joining from Hibernians, believes the team is aching to win.

“We’re hungry to lift a trophy as we’ve been playing really well this season, but we haven’t won anything yet,” Bugeja told the Times of Malta.

“This is the first final in which you can say we’ll be a full team without injuries – the previous final was marred by injuries to some of our import players.”

Asked about the challenge from Duncan Fenech’s Luxol side, Bugeja believes there might be a slight size mismatch, but he is confident of the two legs to come.

“Luxol have never beat us this season, even though they have always been close games. But I think that over the span of two games and aggregate score, it will be very difficult for any team to beat us,” Bugeja explained.

“Currently, Luxol are in very good form and their team is solid, especially with (Tayler) Mattos who will be a disadvantage for us to defend due to his height. They haven’t lost a game in a long time as well – they beat Starlites twice so they’re quite confident right now.

“Of course, everyone would want to win a final and I’m pretty sure Luxol will be coming onto the court to win but at the same time, I’m confident my team is capable of beating them.”

Luxol a ‘different team’

On the other end, Luxol have made a big step after last season’s disappointing season. A place in this season’s playoffs is already confirmed, with the final game day being the deciding factor for a third or fourth spot.

A highlight for the Violets this season has been US import player Tayler Mattos, a towering big man who has proved vital on both ends of the court so far.

Speaking to the Times of Malta, Mattos will be using the team’s lack of wins against Mellieha as fuel for this weekend.

“We’re really excited for the opportunity to play for the Louis Borg Cup, especially against Mellieha,” Mattos said.

“We haven’t beaten them this year but we’re a different team now and we’re starting to hit our stride. It should be a highly competitive game with a good atmosphere, as a player these are the types of games you want to play.”

Asked about the prospect of possibly facing Mellieha in the playoff semifinals as well, the former University of New Hampshire player said maintaining the team’s unity will be the main priority.

“Playoffs are important because we have worked hard all year to clinch a good spot. And yeah, the way things are looking we could play them in the first round of playoffs but our main priority besides getting the win is to just continue building and coming together as a team so when we’re challenged in a big moment we can handle it down the stretch.”



Mellieha Libertas vs Hibernians              103-100 (Leg 1), 93-82 (Leg 2)

BUPA Luxol vs Gzira Athleta     85-71 (Leg 1), 89-89 (Leg 2)


Mellieha Libertas vs Depiro      87-79 (Leg 1), 101-73 (Leg 2)

BUPA Luxol vs Starlites               83-80 (Leg 1), 80-76 (Leg 2)

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