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Malta basketball with mixed emotions in Montenegro games

Malta's Eric Washington hits a jumpshot against Montenegro. Photo: Stephen Christopher Vella

Malta’s basketball teams finished their day two commitments with a mixed bag yet again as the Maltese men beat Montenegro 78-66 to make amends for a tough loss to Cyprus on Tuesday. Earlier the Malta women’s team fell 59-42 to the Montenegrin team.

MONTENEGRO              66

MALTA                              78

(16-19, 20-19, 13-24, 17-16)

It was a widely different story for Alan Walls’ clan on Wednesday as following a dismal start to the tournament against the Cypriots, a different starting five showed a stronger side and it became clear as Malta led for most of the game.

Eric Washington looked much better than his debut as he secured a double-double, leading the Malta scoring with 20 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds in an impressive performance to erase any doubts about his name. Nelson Kahler followed with seven of seven makes for 14 points and six rebounds, as Jacob Formosa and Aaron Falzon scored 11 and 11 points respectively.

Montenegro’s Nenad Vukovic led the game in scoring with 24 points as he was the point of contact in terms of offence.

Washington and Kahler opened proceedings for Malta within seconds as Nathan Xuereb added a layup of his own to give Malta a steady lead after Petar Durisic scored first.

The first half remained close as Malta continued to lead but after the halftime break, Malta’s Kahler exploded on offence, putting up no less than eight points in the third quarter as Malta led by as high as 13 points by the end of the rubber.

This margin was extended to 16 midway through the final quarter as Malta held on to take the win.

Ylenia Bonett (right) drives towards the hoop against Montenegro. Photo: Stephen Christopher Vella


MALTA WOMEN                           42

(19-19, 12-2, 20-14, 8-7)

While Malta’s women enjoyed an early triumph against Cyprus on Tuesday, Angela Adamoli struggled on Day Two of the basketball event with a low-scoring afternoon.

Amber Melgoza, who had put up 32 points on her debut, could only muster around half as she nonetheless led Malta’s scoring with 15 points, four rebounds, and three assists. The usually free-scoring Stephanie De Martino managed just five points on Wednesday but grabbed eight boards.

Unlike Malta which had just one double-digit scorer on the afternoon, Montenegro had Mija Lekovic put up 13 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Milica Jovanovic added 12 and six rebounds. Bozica Mujovic rounded the double-digits as she scored 10 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Bojana Kovacevic made her own statement with 12 rebounds.

It looked like it was about to be another Malta show when Josephine Diaby fired in a three-ball to open the game’s scoring and Melgoza hit a jumpshot three to put Malta up by six. But Montenegro remained composed and began to hit back. Melgoz managed four more buckets with Ashleigh Van Vliet and De Martino hitting a layup each to close the first quarter.

The second quarter will definitely be a concerning factor of Wednesday’s loss as Malta only managed two points as Montenegro scored 12 in a very low scoring 10 minutes and the halftime stoppage would have come as a welcome moment to reflect.

The Montenegrins kept up their power in the second half as Jovanovic was the most dangerous player on the court with eight points scored in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter held no bearing on the result as the gap between the two teams stuck to around 15 points from each other as Montenegro took the win.

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