Rock survive thriller in Olybet BBL Cup Semifinal

LIEPAJA – TU/Rock used a massive third quarter run to ignite a victory in Liepaja, as they beat Siauliai ­62-59 (20-25; 8-14; 23-5; 11-15) and made their way to the Olybet BBL Cup Final, where they face the winners of the Liepaja/Triobet – Ventspils Semifinal.

 

The teams started the game off trading blows one after another, but Siauliai managed to put up a 9-2 run which allowed them to amass their first tangible lead – 17-10. Mostly because of the input from Janar Talts, who scored half of his team’s points in the first quarter, the Estonian side managed to cut the deficit to five, as the scoreboard displayed a 25-20 Siauliai lead.

The second quarter started sluggishly, as neither team managed to get a field goal to drop for the first three minutes. However, despite that, Siauliai slowly yet steadily gathered a double-digit lead. The sides were separated by eleven entering halftime.

Tables turned in the third quarter, as Tartu went racing back and after an 18-2 run to start the quarter, the 11-point deficit was quickly wiped away. The Estonians won the third quarter 23-5 and were already in front by seven points entering the final 10 minutes.

Siauliai started the final quarter on a higher note, but every time they would finally catch up with their opponents, TU/Rock would answer with a three-pointer to make it a two possession lead.

However, with three minutes remaining on the clock, TU/Rock were forced into two 24-second shot-clock violations and that helped the Lithuanians tie up the game. Karolis Petrukonis scored the go-ahead basket with 33 seconds on the clock and Augustas Peciukevicius later converted a free-throw to push the lead to three, while Siauliai couldn’t get any of their possibly game-tying contested three-pointers to fall.

TU/Rock point guard Augustas Peciukevicius, who finished the game with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, had his share on the breakthrough third quarter:

“Coach just told us to get it together. If I’m not mistaken, we only made 30 percent of our 2-point field goals and most of them were good, easy looks. We continued working hard on defense, started converting on our chances and with a few strokes of luck, we had the breakthrough.”

When asked, who he would like to meet in the final, Peciukevicius “A couple of weeks ago we lost to Liepaja by 20, so we obviously want to get our revenge. However, it’s been quite a while that we’ve played Ventspils, so it’d be quite interesting to try them out. All in all, we’re up for either match-up.”

Apart from Peciukevicius, the Estonian side received a solid impact from Janar Talts, who had 13 points and 9 rebounds, while Tanel Kurbas had 12 points.

On the losing side, Ryan Olander and Jonathan Lee had 12 points each, while Gintaras Leonavicius was also in double-digits with 10.