PARNU – Barsy have been looking to capture their first win for a while now, and although they did get close to doing just that, they‘ll have to wait just a while longer. In the only game of the night the Kazakhs fell after a hard-fought battle against Port of Parnu, 73-78.
It took a while for both teams to get into rhythm, as they started off shooting really poorly. Both teams fixed that in the second part of the first period and went neck-to-neck, with Parnu making the final shot of the quarter to pull up by three.
Parnu managed to gain some grounds in the second quarter, as their lead improved to 10 with five minutes remaining in the half. However, the second part of the period belonged to Barsy, as they rushed off to a 15-0 run to end the quarter and go up by 2, 35-40.
It was a very close affair after halftime as well, and neither side could really take a position of control. While it was mostly Port of Parnu up in the quarter, the margin between the two teams was just two points before the final fourth.
The home side managed to push up ahead in the beginning of the fourth quarter, as they held a six point lead, but, obviously, having invested so much into the game, the Kazakhs were not about to let up. They battled back and the fate of the game was decided in the final minutes.
With a minute remaining, it was just two points between the clubs, as Vaidotas Volkus took a stand at the free-throw line to extend Parnu‘s lead to four. The teams traded bad possessions, and time wasn‘t on the visitors‘ side. Parnu extended their lead with free-throws and captured their second victory.
Edvinas Seskus had a terrific game, scoring 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Fellow countryman Vaidotas Volkus added 17 points to the tally, as Norman Kabin chipped in with 14. Saimon Sutt ended the game with 13, while Reinar Hallik finished with 10 points despite attempting 11 three-pointers.
Trevin Parks was the top scorer for Barsy, as he scored 20 points. Mikhail Yevstigneev was solid with 17 points to his name, while Anthony Johnson tallied 14. Pavel Ilin finished the game with 9 points and 8 rebounds.
RAKVERE – Valmiera/ORDO didn’t have to sweat too hard to bang home their sixth win and stay amongst the group leaders. Tarvas/Palmse Metall just didn’t have enough fight in them and fell way short 105-74.
It didn't take too long for the visitors to get going, as Valmiera/ORDO had already amassed a 12-point margin just five minutes into the game. The double-digit margin stuck with them for good, as they finished the quarter up 11.
By halftime, the gap had grown to 20 points and it seemed this one was already over. Despite a solid lead, Valmiera did not become complacent and followed a good half with their best quarter.
A 31-13 quarter brought their advantage to a game-high 38 points and at that point there was definitely no coming back for Tarvas.
They managed to slightly chip at the lead, but that didn't make much difference in the final outlook.
The Latvians were better in nearly all categories, but what stands out is their terrific shooting percentage – Valmiera/ORDO made 78% of their 2-point field goals. And despite that, still managed to grab as many offensive rebounds as their opponents.
Arturs Berzins and Martins Laksa stood out in the scoring department, as they had 17 points each for Valmiera, while Lauris Blaus added 15. Damier Pitts chipped in with 13, while Janis Kaufmanis ended the game with a dozen points. Rinalds Malmanis and Ervins Jonats contributed 11 points with 7 rebounds, and 10 points with 8 rebounds, respectively.
Timo Eichfuss was the highest scorer on the other side, as he tallied 18 before fouling out. Siim Markus Post was solid with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists.
RIGA – Barons kvartals made it three in a row and improved to an overall record of 6-2 with their latest win against Nevezis. The Kedainiai side was a tough competitor for three quarters, but Barons took control in the final fourth and took home the 77-68 victory.
Nevezis shot ahead in the first ten minutes, as they played a near-perfect quarter. Everything seemed to be falling and the Lithuanians managed to reach a 14-point advantage.
Despite a horrible start, Barons didn't give up and came firing back in the second period. A good run helped them wipe out nearly the whole deficit and it was just five points between the two clubs at halftime.
Barons kvartals' comeback was real, and they made sure they were back in contention before crunch time, now down by just a single point.
That is when Nevezis started breaking down, and the Latvians finally shot ahead. They won the final quarter by 10 and achieved quite a comfortable victory.
Throughout the whole game the Latvians turned the ball over just five times, while Nevezis were sloppy and gave the ball away 22 times.
Davis Geks had a good game scoring the ball, as he put up 19 points, while Tauras Jogela added 14 to the tally. Both Andris Epners and Tyler Larson had 12 points, while the latter also contributed team-best 10 rebounds and 6 assists.
Paulius Petrilevicius had an efficient game, scoring 17 points on 9 field goal attempts, while Karolis Petrukonis added 15 points and 9 rebounds. Ivan Smiljanic chipped in with 12 points and 7 boards. Jermaine Love ended the game with 11 points on perfect shooting, but was also responsible for seven of those turnovers for Nevezis.
JEKABPILS – Another terrific game in the Triobet BBL, as Jekabpils took on Ogre/Kumho Tyre. The game went down to the wire, but it was ultimately the home side Jekabpils prevailing with a 76-71 victory.
An exciting game in Latvia start to finish, as the teams went at it from the get-go, trading the lead 6 times in the first quarter alone. Ogre did get the buzzer-beating three to fall and extended their lead to four points.
The visitors used the momentum to build on that lead in the second quarter, as minutes later it was already nine points between the two sides, 19-28. However, a 12-2 run put things back in order and it was now just a two point deficit for Jekabpils at halftime.
It was still anybody’s game but Ogre/Kumho Tyre did all they could to retain a lead: it was a basket or two separating the two Latvian clubs throughout the third period.
Jekabpils managed to turn things around in the final quarter though, as they quietly jumped ahead and started building their lead point by point. Ogre wasted numerous possessions and that allowed the home team to go up by 7.
Ogre/Kumho Tyre made one last attempt to extend the game and came really close, but Jekabpils put it away with solid shooting from the free-throw line.
Roberts Stumbris was the top performer for Jekabpils, as he tallied 22 points and 8 rebounds, while Jurijs Aleksejevs crashed the offensive glass and tore down 9 offensive rebounds (11 total) and added 15 points. Kristaps Miglinieks contributed 11 points.
Janis Poznaks was solid for Ogre, as he tallied 17 points. Both Gints Antrops and Kristaps Plavnieks added 10 points apiece.
LIEPAJA – In a game perfect for the highlight reels, it was Jurmala/Fenikss going out on top in the 103-97 OT drama against Liepaja/Triobet. The victors improved to a 3-5 record, while Liepaja dropped to 4-4.
It was a neck-to-neck affair throughout the whole game, but the teams took it to a whole new level in the final fourth. After ten minutes the score was all tied up at 21 and neither side had any breathing room.
Liepaja/Triobet managed to tally a game-high seven point lead at the start of the second quarter, but as you might expect, that didn't stand long. Jurmala/Fenikss quickly responded and we were back in a nip-and-tuck environment.
There wasn't too much changes in content in the second half, as the two sides kept on changing leads time after time again, for a total of 17 lead changes throughout the game.
The final minutes of regulation were as stressful as they come, and that resulted in numerous turnovers. With the stakes high and two minutes on the clock, Ugis Pinete made two consecutive turnovers for Jurmala/Fenikss and that gave Liepaja the chance to pull ahead by three. Nevertheless, just five seconds later, the visitors responded with a three-pointer to tie the game up.
After retaking possession, Jurmala/Fenikss had the chance to take the lead, but another turnover resulted in a wasted opportunity. Nerves were crunching both sides though, as Davis Rozitis missed both free-throw to keep the score level.
And then some miraculous stuff happened, as Edgars Jeromanovs knocked down a fade-away three-pointer to go up by three. Before Jurmala could start celebrating, Lateef Mcmullan responded with a half-court buzzer-beater (video below).
The first part of overtime was just as close, as it was just a point between the two teams, but several turnovers by Liepaja/Triobet closed the case and Jurmala/Fenikss celebrated an incredible victory.
We witnessed a spectacular all-around performance from Edgars Jeromanovs, who was simply on top of his game yesterday, scoring 39 points (10/12 three-pointers), tore down 9 rebounds and added 8 assists. Incredible stuff!
RAPLA – AVIS Rapla will have multiple reasons to celebrate the end of the year, and tonight’s 87-60 win against Barsy Atyrau added to that list, as the Estonian club made history, not losing a single home game in all competitions before the New Year.
The Estonians have won all four home games in the Triobet BBL, five games in the Estonian Alexela Basketball League and have also been victorious in an Estonian Cup game. Their home fortress remains untouched with a 10-0 home record. The last time something similar happened was when current AVIS Rapla head coach Aivar Kuusmaa was still playing for Tallinn A. Le Coq, nearly 15 years ago.
With the home fans backing them, Rapla managed to get off to a good start and amassed a 9-point lead right out of the gates, 11-2. The margin quickly expanded and reached 16 before the first quarter even ended.
The second quarter didn't start off as swiftly as the Estonians might have hoped, as they opened their scoring nearly three minutes into the game. Barsy, on the other hand, used the stagnation in AVIS Rapla's game to get a bit closer with an 11-2 run that cut the deficit to just 7.
Nevertheless, the home side managed to regain control of the lead and 19 points separated the two teams at halftime.
We didn't see too many changes in the second half and Rapla celebrated a comfortable lead.
It’s Sunday once again, and that means it’s time to look back at what’s happened throughout the week in the Triobet Baltic Basketball League. BBL.net presents you the ninth volume of the Triobet BBL Weekly Review.
MVP. It’s a Pieno Zvaigzdes’ player going for the Weekly MVP award for the second week in a row, as Ignas Fiodorovas claims the award this time. The 20-year-old is normally just a role player for the Pasvalys side, but he put up impressive numbers in the team’s record win against Borisfen, tallying 18 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 steals.
STOCKTON? We might have a version of a certain John Stockton playing in the Triobet BBL, as Toni Prostran was dishing out assists to whoever wanted them and set a new Triobet BBL record with 17 assists to his name. To take matters into perspective, more than half of the teams didn’t reach 17 assists as a whole this week.
RECORDS GALORE. What a night Tuesday was for Pieno Zvaigzdes, as they got nearly everything to fall against Borisfen. They set a new record for scoring in regulation with 111 points, a new record for most assists at 40, a new record for overall efficiency at 172, and got the biggest winning margin as well, defeating the Belorussians by 60 points. All this was made possible by the video game-like shooting, as the Lithuanians made 34-of-41 (83%) of their 2-point shots. Yes, that is a new record as well.
UNINSPIRING. Borisfen, on the other hand, have been making all the wrong moves in all the wrong places, as they currently sit at the bottom of the league with no wins and nine losses by an average margin of 35.6 points. Their latest achievement would be breaking their own record for least points scored in a game, as they managed to put up just 45 against Ogre/Kumho Tyre, a point shy from their previous mark.
OPENING. Barsy Atyrau have finally played their first (and second) game of the season, but it really didn’t go down as well as they might have hoped it would. They crashed and burned in the second half of the game against Nevezis, losing by 34 in their season opener, and lost by 14 against Liepaja/Triobet a couple days later.
STANDINGS. More than halfway into the regular season, there’s still nothing guaranteed for any of the teams, but the current trends are apparent. In Group A, the trio of AVIS Rapla, Nevezis and Barons kvartals are looking good with 5-2 records and Liepaja/Triobet breathing down their backs. Group B is more spread out – Pieno Zvaigzdes reign with a 7-1 record, followed by Jekabpils (6-2) and Valmiera/ORDO (5-2). Ogre/Kumho Tyre are right behind them with a 5-3 record, looking to make a run towards the top.
For the second week in a row, it‘s a Pieno Zvaigzdes‘ player raking in the Weekly MVP honors, as it was Ignas Fiodorovas with an exceptional performance this time around. He was nearly perfect in the 23 minutes of basketball he played and was deservedly named the Player of the Week.
The 20-year-old shot the ball with confidence and made 6-of-7 field goals and all 5 free throws, amassing a total of 18 points. Fiodorovas also filled the stat sheet in other departments, as he tore down 6 rebounds, dished out 6 assists and recorded 6 steals, tying for the best result this season in that category.
The guard managed a total of 33 ranking points, as he saw his team dominate Borisfen and set a record for biggest winning margin of the season, 111-51.
This was a stand-out game for Ignas Fiodorovas, as he’s been no more than a role player for the Lithuanian side. At the moment he’s averaging 7.3 points, 2 rebounds and 1.5 assists, while two of his best games were blow-out wins against Borisfen.
OGRE – Saturday adds another L to Borisfen’s win/loss column, as Ogre/Kumho Tyre dismantled the visitors without mercy, shutting down their offense to take the 75-45 victory. Ogre now improve to 5-3, while Borisfen sit on a pitiful 0-9 record.
After scoring the two opening points, Borisfen wouldn’t have the opportunity to hold another lead, as Ogre/Kumho Tyre raced off with a 12-0 run to jump ahead by double-digits. Nevertheless, The Belorussians proved that it was not yet over, as they got back into the game before the first quarter was over.
The two sides battled pretty well for nearly half of the second quarter as well, as the margin was just five points, but the Latvians finally managed to break through – they put up a 13-nothing run and amassed a 38-22 lead at halftime.
The margin only increased over the second half, as it reached game-high 36 points for Ogre in the fourth. It was all said and done early on, and all that mattered was the final score.
Rihards Zebergs was the leading scorer with 16 points to his name, while Lauris Mizis came close to a double-double of 14 points and 9 rebounds. Gints Antrops added 12 points to the tally, while Karlis Apsitis and Janis Poznaks chipped in with 11 points and 10 rebounds, respectively.
Vytautas Kamarunas scored 11 points to lead Borisfen, while Maksim Kozlovets added 9 points to the total.
Thomas van der Mars has been making waves in Baltic basketball this year, as he's already racked up three Player of the Week awards and was recently named MVP for the month of November.
The 26-year-old averaged 18.7 points this month, while also notching a double-double in every single game to put him at 12.3 rebounds per game. Van der Mars also contributed with 1.7 steals, 1.3 assists and 1.0 block a game. BBL.net talked to Thomas all about his experience in the Baltics.
First of all, let me congratulate you on your award. Was it a surprise for you?
I’m not a guy who plays for individual awards or stuff like that, but I can’t deny it is pleasing to receive such recognition also for yourself. So yeah, it was a nice surprise.
Four of five members of the Triobet BBL jury gave their votes for you. Would you call this award the biggest in your career?
I think so. I’ve had few individual awards during my time in college but this is definetely the biggest one while I am playing professionally.
Your team AVIS Rapla also seems on very nice course – five wins in seven matches in the BBL, nine out of 12 in Estonian league. Is it fair to say that this year Rapla is much stronger than the year before?
Well, I can speak only about the second half of the previous season, because I joined the team only in January. But yes, I would agree with you – most of our guys stayed in the team and became more experienced. We try to get better each and every day, and I don't think we are already at the level as we can be. That’s the fun part – to try figure a way how to develop yourself. For now we are mostly using a rotation of 7-8 guys and trying to get the best out of it.
Does AVIS Rapla have specific goals for this season or you are just trying to take game by game?
Yes, we are preparing for each game with such approach, and I think that’s the best way. Sure there are goals and achievements the team wants to reach, but I like how we are doing now – thinking only about the next game and trying to win it. I think that’s the best approach.
You already mentioned your arrival in Estonian and Baltic basketball – it will soon be a full year spent here. What are your impressions about Baltic basketball? Is it much different from what you experienced in NCAA and your home country?
Sure it is. The guys here need to play together much more, there is an emphasis on teamplay. Only trough passing and good positioning you can hope for long-term success. Also in the NCAA we needed to be all on the same page and avoid from really individual one-on-one plays, but here – at least for me – it seems much more important. Everybody needs to be moving, team defense is very important. I also see that lot of teams offer really good defensive schemes and to get past them you need to share the ball, and that is what our team is trying to do – passing on a good shot to get a great shot.
Which team would you rather in the Triobet BBL Play-Offs first round? Let’s not forget to take into consideration that the Play-Offs will consist of eight of the best teams from the regular season and eight seeded teams playing in other European competitions.
I absolutely understand that the strongest BBL teams are not playing in regular season. So, I guess, we just need to try and get as high a place as possible to be seeded higher.
After finishing your studies last summer your name was mentioned in NBA draft rumors several times. What were your thoughts – do you think you had a chance to get drafted?
Well, I knew I wouldn’t be chosen, it just wasn’t a realistic possibility. But yes, I did have a workout with the Portland Trail Blazers. My agent arranged it and it was a really nice experience. I was a bit surprised about their invitation, to be honest, but I really dont regret it.
Lastly, tell me about your national team. Netherlands is not considered a basketball country as much as it with football, but in the last EuroBasket you guys were making quite some noise, and almost reached the TOP 16 stage.
It’s true, we might not be on top of the list when you mention best European teams, but we are slowly growing. Unfortunately, we didn’t qualify for Eurobasket 2017. We had a good run and it all came down to the last game with Germany and unfortunately, we lost it badly.
Fantasy and perhaps not an entirely serious question – if the Dutch national team would compete in one group with the three Baltic states, which position would you finish?
Oh, yes, this is an interesting one (laughs). I remember our game against Lithuania, and they have a really strong team, so... I would say we would be in second place behind Lithuania.