Lietkabelis win in coach Kadziulis' debut

PANEVEZYS – Apparently, the coaching change Lietkabelis just dealt with brought immediate results, as the Lithuanian side finally returned to winning ways with an easy 96-85 (26-19; 27-16; 27-23; 16-27) victory against previously unbeaten Valmiera on Tuesday evening.


Lietkabelis now hold a 3-2 record, while their opponents dropped to a 3-1 record.

The Latvian team was the front-runner in the initial minutes, as three straight three-pointers helped them pull away by a couple of baskets. However, a couple of back-to-back turnovers and solid play from Ivan Nelyubov sparked a 9-0 run that turned the tables. The Lithuanians closed the quarter with another small run and enjoyed a 26-19 lead after the first quarter.

Lietkabelis looked motivated and right out of the gates, ran off to build a double-digit lead, mostly as a result of Dainius Salenga’s two consecutive three-pointers. By the end of the quarter, the Lithuanian side had already amassed an 18-point advantage.

Nevertheless, Valmiera were not about to give in and three minutes and three Matiss Rudmiezis’ three-pointers later were only down by 12. However, Dainius Salenga kept it rolling for the team ahead, as he knocked down his fourth and fifth three-pointers to spread the gap to 21.

22 points separated the two teams after three quarters and the game was all but over. An 11-3 run allowed the visitors to shrink the lead slightly but it was not enough to create any sort of drama. Lietkabelis coasted to the finish line and Gintaras Kadziulis celebrated his first victory as the head coach of the team.

Dainius Salenga was on fire from downtown, as he buried 6 three-pointers and led the game with 24 points. Ivan Nelyubov added 19, while Zygimantas Jonusas accounted for 11 points and 9 rebounds. Evaldas Zabas also entered double-digits with 10 points to his name, while Vytenis Cizauskas nearly secured a double-double with 9 points and 10 assists.

For the losing side Marcis Vitols and Karlis Apsitis were the leading scorers with 14 points apiece, while Matiss Rudmiezis and Davis Rozitis ended the game with respectively 12 and 10 points. Maris Ziedins ended the game with 9 in his account.