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Final four to clash at Ta’ Qali as Division One playoffs tip off

Depiro's Nenad Bukva looks for a pass against Starlites. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The stage is set, the stakes are high, as the final four remaining teams in the BOV Men’s Division One clash in what will decide this season’s champions.

Times of Malta Sport analyses the two matchups in this season’s playoff semifinals…

Starlites JSD vs SiGMA Depiro

Starlites JSD and SiGMA Depiro brace themselves for an electrifying clash in the playoffs. As the top-seeded Starlites face off against the determined fourth-place Depiro, fans are in for a treat as the battle for supremacy unfolds on the hardwood.

For Starlites, the quartet of Kurt James, captain Alec Felice Pace, Christian Hinckson, and Davonte Craven stand tall, ready to defend their team’s honour. On the other side, Depiro boasts the formidable trio of Kameron Rooks, Cameron Cornelius, and Andrew Aquilina, with Alfred Hollins waiting in the wings to ignite the spark off the bench.

Paul Ferrante’s Starlites, with their eyes set on sweeping all trophies this season, enter the playoffs riding high on a four-game winning streak.

The defending champions have already secured all the trophies the Malta Basketball Association (MBA) has to offer so far this season, with victories in the Super Cup, John Tabone Shield and Knockout. However, they must not underestimate Depiro, whose relentless efforts and a six-game winning streak, including triumphs over all the other top-four teams including Starlites themselves, led them to propel themselves into the final postseason spot over Hibernians who had been favourites for the position. Ruben Baldacchino’s clan also clinched the runner-up spot in this season’s Knockout.

In the paint, the battle between Starlites’ defensive prowess and Depiro’s imposing presence, led by Rooks, promises to be intense. Felice Pace’s leadership against the crafty distribution of Cornelius and Aquilina will dictate the flow of the game. Craven’s agility and Hinckson’s sharpshooting will be crucial weapons for the Starlites, while Depiro will rely on Hollins’ instant impact off the bench to sway the momentum in their favour. At the same, time the timely return of Matthew Scerri will of course be a threat for Depiro, the Starlites fan favourite putting up numbers to make up for his long-term injury before the start of the season.

Mellieha Libertas vs Athleta

In another riveting matchup, Mellieha Libertas square off against Athleta in a clash of contrasting styles and strategies. As the second-seeded Mellieha looks to redeem themselves after stumbling in last year’s finals, Athleta aims to continue their resurgence in the playoffs.

Libertas will lean heavily on the talents of top-scorer Tedrick Wolfe, Kwame Thompson, Alexander Peacock, and David Bugeja to regain their winning momentum. Meanwhile, Athleta’s resurgence is fuelled by the trio of Piotr Stelmach, Malik Riddle, and Dajuan Moorer, with Luca Stefanovic and Matthew Gouder finishing off the powerful lineup of stars for coach Christos Kousidis.

Mellieha, despite leading the standings for most of the season, fell short in their bid for the Super Cup and John Tabone Shield, finishing as runners-up.

They did so in the final stages of the regular season with last weekend’s defeat to Depiro confirming them as the league’s second seed. However, they remain a formidable force with their fast offensive strategy. Athleta, on the other hand, made a triumphant return to the playoffs after a period of transition, showcasing their athleticism and team cohesion.

Mellieha’s explosive offence will clash with Athleta’s resilient defence, led by Stelmach. Wolfe and Thompson’s scoring prowess will test Athleta’s defensive resolve, while Riddle and Moorer’s athleticism will pose a challenge for Mellieha’s backcourt. Peacock’s versatility and Bugeja’s playmaking will be crucial for Mellieha, while Athleta will look to Stefanovic and Gouder to provide additional firepower to counter the likes of Isaac Bonett and Vukasin Jandric, who is set for a return from injury.




Starlites JSD vs SiGMA Depiro  14.00

Mellieha Libertas vs Athleta     16.30



Athleta vs Mellieha Libertas     15.00

SiGMA Depiro vs Starlites JSD  17.00

GAME 3           


Starlites JSD vs SiGMA Depiro  18.15

Mellieha Libertas vs Athleta     20.15

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