Valmiera/ORDO join Ventspils in the all-Latvian Final

VALMIERA – Valmiera/ORDO, the hosts of the Triobet BBL Cup, joined the other Latvian team Ventspils in the all-Latvian Final of the tournament after taking a 66-65 victory against Kalev/Cramo in the second Semi-Final at the Vidzeme Olympic Center on Saturday.

 

Unlike the first Semi-Final, which saw Ventspils hand Siauliai a 59-point thumping, the game offered quite a bit more intrigue and excitement. The lead changed hands 12 times in the first quarter alone and set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Kalev/Cramo had a slender advantage after the opening period at 20-18, but Valmiera/ORDO edged in front in the second period behind stellar play by Martins Laksa and finished the first half up 35-34.

The Estonian side had a better third quarter and led for the majority of it, but a late rally by the hosts erased the deficit and baskets by Ovidijus Varanauskas and Rinalds Malmanis turned the scales in favor of Valmiera/ORDO who entered the final period with a 50-47 edge.

The hosts started the final frame very well and even increased their lead to double figures after a pair of successful free-throws by Raimonds Gabrans at 61-51.

With four minutes remaining, Valmiera/ORDO were up 66-59 after a three-pointer by Janis Kaufmanis, but Kalev/Cramo stepped up their effort on defense and didn’t allow the home side to score a single point the rest of the way, clawing their way back into the game.

Demonte Harper even had a chance to win the game with a relatively open three-pointer at the end of the game, but the shot didn’t go in, allowing the crowd to breathe a sigh of relief at the Vidzeme Olympic Center.

Martins Laksa had a game-high 15 points and six rebounds for Valmiera/ORDO, Ovidijus Varanauskas scored 13 points and grabbed seven boards, while Maurice Walker added 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Meanwhile, Robert Upshaw had a team-high 14 points for Kalev/Cramo, Mark Tollefsen added 11 while Harper and Mickell Gladness added nine apiece.

The all-Latvian Triobet BBL Cup Final between Valmiera/ORDO and Ventspils will be played at 18:30 on Sunday, while Kalev/Cramo and Siauliai will play for bronze earlier, with tip-off scheduled for 16:00.