Let’s take a look back at the outstanding performances of the week in another volume of Triobet BBL Weekly Review!
DEBUT. When Dominykas Milka joined TLU Kalev, not many could have expected him to be as spectacularly good as he was in his debut against one of Group A leaders Valmiera/ORDO. The 23-year-old Lithuanian big man, who arrived to the Estonian capital from Hiroshima Dragonflies in Japan, scored 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds, as TLU Kalev defeated Valmiera/ORDO 80-79 to mark the start of 2016 with one of the bigger upsets of the season. Having improved to a 5-5 record, the Estonian side looks good going forward after the addition of Milka.
SHORTHANDED. There were only eight players at the disposal of Vytautas coach Virginijus Seskus in the first game of the new year and the team’s starting point guard Sarunas Vasiliauskas played only six minutes, but it didn’t prevent the Lithuanian side from keeping their unbeaten run going by topping Barsy 80-73 at home in Prienai. Vytautas Sulskis and Vilmantas Dilys took on the burden of carrying the team in such circumstances and had 24 points each in a win.
TURNING BACK THE CLOCK. Group A leaders Lietkabelis had to work hard for the road win against Port of Parnu after arriving to Estonia without three key players in Arturas Valeika, Arnas Labuckas and Mile Ilic. After a second-half spurt, the Lithuanians did triumph 97-92 and much of the laurels belong to the 37-year-old Croatian center Jurica Zuza who had his best game of the season with 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
MVP. Before the game against Barsy, Vytautas forward Laimonas Kisielius was presented with the December MVP award. BBL.net sat down with Kisielius to talk about being back in Prienai, the team’s title aspirations in Triobet BBL and the desire to fight for medals in Lithuania, as well as the difficulties that come along with having a relatively thin roster. You can read the full interview here.
ROSTER MOVES. There were some roster moves across quite a few Triobet BBL squads. In addition to the previously mentioned move that brought Dominykas Milka to TLU Kalev, Valmiera/ORDO added Lauris Blaus, Barons/LDz got Kristaps Gluditis, Edvinas Seskus signed with Vytautas, former Ukrainian national team player Oleksandr Kolchenko inked a contract with Nevezis while Port of Parnu brought in Mark Dorris to compensate for the departure of its leader Andrew Warren, who left to Kosovo. Later, Lietkabelis announced the signing of former Baltic League standout Brandis Raley Ross. Domagoj Bubalo left AVIS Rapla to join Siauliai in Lithuania, while Barons/LDz said goodbye to three American players.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK. Kazakh side Barsy has not had the best of luck in 2016, picking up two losses in a row to start the year. After falling short 80-73 against Prienai, the team from Atyrau suffered a 94-78 loss at the hands of Jekabpils a couple of days later, despite Ryan Cook scoring 28 points, grabbing 10 boards and registering three steals. The 25-year-old American guard had the best performance of the week with an index rating of 37.
In Vytautas' win against Barsy, Vytautas Sulskis also had 37 ranking points having collected 24 points and 14 rebounds.