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  • Writer's pictureJohn Goncalves


Updated: Apr 21

Europa Valmar consolidated their position at the top of the first round table of the GABBA League, following their comfortable 88-69 win over Lincoln Bayside, one of their main rivals in the hunt for this season’s title. All 13 teams, including the Gibraltar under 18 selection, entered as part of their participation for next summer’s FIBA European Championship, play each other once before splitting for the second round, which will decide the First and Second Division champions.

Europa Valmar, unbeaten after 5 matches, were led brilliantly by the mercurial skills of Mo El Yettefti who hit 35 points, ably supported by 21 points apiece from first year junior Pablo Postigo and the skillful Marius Grigaitis. Jamie Mesilio 20, and Michael Rodriguez 16, were best for the losers.

In the other matches played last week, Chico Ortiz hit an amazing season high 56 points, and super veteran, 48 year old Angel Guerrero, got 29 to give the holders, Bavaria Blue Stars, their first win of the season, downing Hercules FC (Joel Aparisi 16, Tonet Becerra 11) by 102-63; RCA Bricklayers, led by Callum Culross 32, Roydon Reyes 21, Ian Yeats 16, Ching Chan Thong 12, registered a big 97-50 win over GibYellow Beasts (Gareth Balban 17, Romain Molina 10); Bavaria Blue Stars Reserves (David Pacheco 12, Victor Carrasco 12, Ethan Bocarisa 11) had a narrow 53-49 win over Europa Valmar Reserves (Kiwi Wink 12, James Vinales 10, Kevan Sercombe 10); and Bavaria Blue Stars Giants overturned a 10 points’ half-time deficit to register a 70-52 win over Hercules FC Reserves, with Nathan Vaughan 18, Chris Noon 17, Tim Azopardi 14 and Killian Garcia 11 leading the winners and Juandi Camacho 13 topping the losers.

The youth categories are all engaged in League Cup competitions, consisting of a round-robin first phase, followed by the knockout phase. The men’s u18 and u16 competitions finished the first phase over the weekend.

In the u18, favourites Europa Valmar, led by the talented Louis Dalmedo’s 33 points, well aided by Pablo Postigo 20 and Marco O’Connor 10, beat Deloitte Dragons, for whom David Connor shone, hitting 27 points, by 75-44, to claim top place; and the Cassaglia cousins, Danny and Dandan with 17 points apiece, and Julian Chichon with 13, hauled Lincoln Bayside  to a 59-44 win over Bavaria Blue Stars, with Nathan Vaughan getting 14. The semi finals will, in fact, be repeats of these same match ups.

In the u16, Javi Andrews scored 23 and Jack Balban 11 to lead Bavaria Blue Stars to a 66-36 win over Deloitte Dragons, led by Charlie Fairweather’s 12 points; and the officials and team coaches then “forgot” the competition regulations which provide for drawn matches in the first phase, and an unnecessary overtime was played, which has been annulled, the 49-49 score after 40 minutes being the result of the match between Europa Valmar, whose top scorers were Marco O’Connor 16, Enrique Navarro 11 and Tristan Kirkland 11, and Lincoln Bayside, led by Kingsley Sylvester 16, Lee Davis 14 and Tom Appleton 11. This was enough for Europa Valmar to top the group, and play Deloitte Dragons in the semi final.

The u14 boys’ has 5 teams and, in the only match played last week, Julek Wojniak 27 and Jack Cassaglia 25 spearheaded unbeaten leaders Damex Gators’ 72-26 win over Lincoln Bayside (Andy Luque 12).

The top spot in the u17 women will be decided when Bavaria Blue Stars Blue (Isabelle Dalmedo 14, Phoebe Reyes 10), 42-14 winners over Europa Valmar, meet Lincoln Bayside (Anna Pons 15, Lucia Hernandez 11, Lauren Raineri 10, Sofia Afzan 10, Farah Bruzon 10) who beat Bavaria Blue Stars Pink by 70-24.

Daniella Martinez hit a game high 19 points to lead Damex Gators in their 33-24 win over Bavaria Blue Stars and so claim top spot in the u14 girls’ competition.

In perhaps the most exciting of all competitions, the u12 Mixed, Ralph Falero Manktelow hit a staggering 34 points, seconded by Sebastian Picardo’s 12, in Europa Valmar’s 53-42 crucial win over Lincoln Bayside, for whom Ella Savignon 17 and Kristian Mifsud 13 were top scorers; and Lily Mauro scored 11 for Bavaria Blue Stars in their hard fought 31-27 success against Hercules FC, led by Briella Bagu’s 15 points.

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