Triobet BBL Finals Preview

It‘s finally time – the Triobet BBL Finals tip off today in a match-up between two Lithuanian clubs. Vytautas and Pieno Zvaigzdes have had plenty of chances to meet on the domestic front, so let’s take a look at what’s happened in the previous meetings and how the two teams got to the finals.

 

Head-to-head

The two Lithuanian clubs have already faced off three times in the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL) this season and once in the domestic cup, Vytautas leading the season series 3-1.

While Pieno Zvaigzdes was victorious in the first match-up in the regular season, winning 75-70 at home, they faced defeat the next two times (77-96 and 74-86) the teams locked horns in Prienai.

While protecting the home court will certainly be a big factor here, Prienai have already managed to bring one victory home from Pasvalys, as they came out on top 90-75 in the KIDY Tour – King Mindaugas Cup Quarterfinal.

Triobet BBL Season

It has to be said that Pieno Zvaigzdes have had a much longer Triobet BBL season, having competed both in the regular season and the Play-offs, while Vytautas joined us in the Play-offs after getting kicked out of the FIBA Europe Cup.

When it comes to the Baltic league, the Pasvalys side was easily the top team in the regular season, as they succumbed to just one loss in Group B. They started the season off with five wins before facing a surprising defeat against league newcomers Ogre/Kumho Tyre. Nevertheless, the Lithuanians closed out the group stage strong and ended up being the top-seeded regular season team.

Coincidentially, their Eight-Finals opponent was the very same side from Ogre, who‘d given them trouble in both regular season games. And the Play-offs were no different – Ogre once again won at home and had an 8-point advantage before the return leg. However, Pieno Zvaigzdes were not playing around and won the home leg by 33.

Pieno Zvaigzdes sailed past Liepaja/Triobet in the Quarter-Finals, winning both games quite comfortably and went on to face University of Tartu in the Semis. The series was an all-out affair and needed an extra five minutes to settle.

The road to the finals was much eaier for Vytautas, as they received one of the lowest-seeded teams in the regular season ­– Port of Parnu – in the first round of the Play-offs. A combined 189-99 win just goes to show that the all-Lithuanian roster was in a league of it‘s own.

They faced off against the Triobet BBL Cup winners Valmiera/ORDO in the Quarterfinals, and while many suggested it would be an exciting series, Vytautas settled things in the first game already, winning 102-71. Despite a loss in the second leg, they safely moved on.

Vytautas‘ toughest opponent was Kalev/Cramo, who won the first game by six and actually led by double-digits in the second leg. However, a big turn-around paved the way for the Lithuanians.

Key Players

It would be pretty much safe to assume that veteran leadership will be vital in a game with so much at stake, and both teams have someone to rely one.

For Vytautas, Tomas Delininkaitis has been the person to look for when nothing is going well and the former Lietuvos Rytas, Zalgiris and longtime Lithuanian National Team player usually delivers.

Delininkaitis is the team's top-scorer in the domestic championship, averaging 13.2 points. His numbers have been even better against Pieno Zvaigzdes, as he's averaged 17.0 points in the three games he's played in, all victories.

Their opponents also have someone who's seen a lot wins throughout his career. Former Lietuvos Rytas captain Steponas Babrauskas is someone who can turn up and drop 20 any day of the week, and then go missing for a while. His play will be vital if Pieno Zvaigzdesseek to have any success.

The Shooting Guard had two big games and two horrible ones against Vytautas, as he's averaged 12.3 points against them. His scoring has been identical in both the Triobet BBL and the domestic league, as Babrauskas has averaged 10.2 points.

The game will be broadcast on Viasat Sport Baltic on 03/29 at 18:30, with the return leg played in a week.