There was some phenomenal being played in the Triobet BBL this week, but let‘s not forget the fact, that we‘ve still got some teams joining us come Playoffs time. BBL.net keeps you up to date with what‘s going on throughout Europe with the European Competitions round-up.
Lietkabelis must sure be glad they booked a second round berth quite early in the season, as they’ve found wins tough to come by lately. With one last round of the regular season remaining, they hold a 3-4 record after falling just short of Nizhny Novgorod. The Lithuanians proved to be a tough opponent, but just like in the two clubs’ first meeting, they needed just a bit more luck, as they fell 89-91.
VTB United League
Another Russian powerhouse stood in the way of Kalev/Cramo last week, as they faced UNICS in the VTB league, and once again, the Estonians were over-matched. The game finished in a fairly close result, 91-104, but it wasn’t a close affair at all. The Tallinn side were down by 24 points after three quarters but managed to claw their way to a more decent deficit. Despite that, Kalev/Cramo’s record drops to 2-5.
Basketball Champions League
After defeating group leaders Neptunas last time around, Ventspils faced another formidable opponent this week. The Latvians fell short of PAOK 81-85 after 45 minutes of basketball, not being able to convert on their possessions in overtime. The Latvians actually held a double-digit lead in the first half of the game, but eventually slipped up, and dropped their record to 3-4.
It wasn’t a good European week for Juventus either, as they crumbled in the final quarter and let go of a victory against Sidigas Avellino. The Lithuanians were still ahead by seven after three quarters, but a horrendous final period set them back, as they lost 75-85. Juventus are still the top dog in Group D with a record of 5-2.
FIBA Europe Cup
The first stage of the FIBA Europe Cup has already ended, and only Vytautas managed to qualify for the next round. The other three teams have already made their exits without securing even a single victory. Vytautas next game will be played on the 14th of December.
Dutch big man Thomas van der Mars has taken the league by storm, proving to be the a mismatch for any opponent. Finally he’s getting more and more recognition for his play, as a terrific month of November has earned the center his first Triobet BBL Player of the Month award.
The University of Portland graduate joined AVIS Rapla in early 2016, after a short stint in Greek club Kavala. Van der Mars didn’t need too much time to get accustomed in his new role, and from the very start of the new season, has shown incredible numbers all over the court.
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. He is currently the league’s third-highest scorer and rebounder, while he comes in at second in overall efficiency.
Not only has Thomas had personal success, but AVIS Rapla has done exceptionally well with the big man supporting a heavy role on both ends of the court. The Estonian club is currently on top of Group A with four wins and two losses and has yet to lose a home game.
Perhaps their most important victory of the month came against Barons kvartals, as the teams share a 4-2 record. For van der Mars, it was both a team, and personal victory, as he battled against one of the top players in the league Denis Krestinin. It was an 86-80 victory for Rapla and the Dutchman had arguably his best game of the month, scoring 23 points and ripping down 12 rebounds. Krestinin was also solid, but his team‘s woes have left him behind in the MVP rankings.
Thomas van der Mars had already notched three Player of the Week awards this season, and will look to continue his dominance after adding a Player of the Month trophy to the cabinet.
The most exciting basketball week we‘ve had so far has just finished and it‘s time to announce our latest Triobet BBL Player of the Week. A dominant performance offensively and a couple clutch, game-saving blocks has Pieno Zvaigzdes‘ Andriy Agafonov as the best player this week.
The big man was involved in a double-overtime 104-103 win against Jekabpils, and it‘s safe to say that Agafonov played a key role in this exciting victory. Agafonov excelled on both ends of the court, as he recorded 27 points on near-perfect shooting and added 7 rebounds to the tally. He was also active drawing fouls and made all 13 attempts from the free-throw line.
The Ukrainian center was impressive on the defensive end as well, as he broke this season‘s record for blocks with 5, including two game-saving blocks in the final seconds of the second overtime. Perhaps the only thing you could fault the player was his turnover totals, as he turned it over 7 times. Nevertheless, an efficiency rating of 33 puts him in the top position this week.
Agafonov has been efficient throughout the season and he‘s shooting lights-out so far, as he easily makes the 50-40-90 club. He‘s made 31-of-45 (68.9%) two point, 3-of-7 (42.9%) three-point field goals and 30-of-32 (93.8%) free-throw attempts so far this season and hasn‘t finished a game with an efficiency rating smaller than 10.
LIEPAJA – Not many people could have expected two double overtime games in one night, but Liepaja/Triobet and Barons kvartals just beat that, pushing their game to three overtimes. After a heroic battle, Barons came out victorious with a 111-106 win.
The game was tit-for-tat for the most part of the game, as both teams started off quite slowly. We saw plenty of lead changes early one, but it was Liepaja up on top after ten minutes, 23-21.
Liepaja/Triobet managed to get away in the second quarter with a terrific start that gave them a 13 point advantage. Nevertheless, the final minute of play before the break helped Barons return to the game and they were down by just 7 at halftime.
The teams went back and forth with shots once again in the third quarter and just when Arturs Ausejs stretched the lead back to ten, Davis Zonne returned a three-pointer to end the quarter on a high note.
The final quarter was intense, to say the least, as Barons now took the upper hand with a small lead putting them on the verge of victory. With 22 seconds remaining, they had the chance to pull up by three, but only one free throw reached the target and allowed Arturs Ausejs to tie the game up with a two-pointer.
Both overtimes were true thrillers, as the aforementioned Ausejs’ final shot in the first OT was blocked, while the second one was a true shoot-out from the free-throw line.
Barons seemed to have a great chance to win, but Roberts Krastins was fouled on his three-point attempt and made all three free-throws to send the game to a third overtime.
We witnessed another five minutes of incredibly close basketball, but Tyler Larson made sure we wouldn’t have a fourth overtime, as he knocked down a long-range bomb to push Barons’ lead to four. Their opponents couldn’t respond and it was a spectacular victory for the Riga side.
VALMIERA – Things went from terrible to amazing for Valmiera/ORDO in just ten minutes, as they made a tremendous effort to come back and win it 82-75 against TTU, marking their fourth win in six games.
TTU came out firing and seemed to have shocked Valmiera/ORDO with such a great start. The Estonians swiftly mounted a double-digit advantage and looked in control of all aspects of the game.
The Latvian side didn’t manage to respond with something similar, and TTU remained in control throughout the rest of the half. That was also the case in the third quarter, as the Estonians managed to expand the lead. It was already a 13-point spread at that time and things looked real grim for Valmiera.
It must have been something coach Uvis Helmanis said after three quarters, as Valmiera/ORDO came into the final quarter looking like a totally different team. They dominated throughout the whole court, on both ends, and piled up 33 points, while allowing just 13. That was enough to give them a great comeback victory.
Janis Kaufmanis was impressive on the offensive end, scoring 22 points to lead the way. Meanwhile, the trio of Damier Pitts (who also had 9 rebounds and 6 assists), Lauris Blaus and Arturs Berzins all chipped in with 16 points apiece.
On the other team, Joonas Jarvelainen had a great night, as he scored 24 points and added 8 rebounds. Sten Olmre chipped in with 16 points, while Toomas Raadik had a solid double-double with 14 points and 11 boards.
PASVALYS – We got more than we hoped for in the most anticipated game of the night, as it ended in a double OT. Jekabpils turned up the heat in the final quarter, as they mounted a monstrous come-back to extend the game, but left the court with their heads down after a second overtime finished with a Pieno Zvaigzdes 104-103 win.
The first half was as tight as they come, both teams trading blow for blow, as the lead changed hands a staggering 12 times in the first ten minutes alone.
Neither side managed to run away in the second quarter either, and we truly saw a battle between two worthy opponents. The lead changed hands a further 7 times before the end of the half, but it was Pasvalys holding on to a slim margin, 41-38.
The Lithuanians got off to a good start after the break and improved the lead to 7, making it the biggest lead of the game at that time.
It was a bit of a change of scenery in the second half, as Pieno Zvaigzdes improved the margin to 17 points in just the third quarter. However that was not the end of it.
Jekabpils responded with 10 dominant minutes of basketball and quickly cut the home side’s advantage. With a minute to go, the deficit was finally cut to just a single point and Pieno Zvaigzdes couldn’t respond. However, with 15 second on the clock Roberts Stumbris only managed to tie the game up with one free-throw of two reaching its target.
The Lithuanians couldn’t make use of the remaining time, and the game went to OT. The two sides traded basket for basket in extra time, but the game was still going nowhere, as the scoreboard lit up with 93-93 after 45 minutes of play.
Pieno Zvaigzdes started the second overtime with five straight points, advancing the score to 98-93, but Rinalds Sirsnins was there for the Latvian side, helping his team stay competitive. They managed to tie the game up with a minute to go and finally pulled ahead with a three from Stumbris giving them a 100-103 advantage.
Pieno Zvaigzdes managed to defend from several attacks from their opponents and that gave them the chance to regain the lead, 104-103. Jekabpils’ final attempt was blocked and the Pasvalys side celebrated a victory in what might be the game of the year.
Pieno Zvaigzdes were led by Andriy Agafonov, who scored 27 points, tore down 7 rebounds and recorded 5 blocks. Egidijus Dimsa added 16, while Steponas Babrauskas and Derrick Low ended the game with 12, as the latter also added 9 assists.
Rinalds Sirsnins was the top scorer for Jekabpils, as he tallied 22. Janis Antrops added 18 points, while Pavels Veselovs ended the game with 15. Jurijs Aleksejevs chipped in with 14 points and 9 rebounds.
KEDAINIAI – It took just one quarter for Nevezis to turn the game against Rapla into a blow-out, as they dominated the final ten minutes to achieve a 92-72 victory.
For most of the first quarter, it was a very close game, neither side able to run off with a tangible lead. Nevertheless, the final minute was more in favor of the hosts, as they jumped ahead by four.
The Kedainiai squad managed to double their lead at the start of the second quarter with a couple of great possessions. As the first half unfolded, the lead grew, and two quarters in, it was a double-digit affair, as Nevezis held a 10-point advantage.
Nevezis’ lead soon vanished in the second half, as Rapla got hot immediately out of the break. The 10-point margin quickly turned into just a three point spread. The result of the third quarter brought the Estonians hope.
However, that hope was short-lived, as Nevezis responded well and dominated the final quarter, quickly amassing an insurmountable lead. The game turned into a blow-out in just a quarter, as the Lithuanian side triumphed by a twenty point spread.
OGRE – The game in Ogre unusually ended after 27 minutes of basketball today, as the backboard broke after Guntis Sipolins' dunk. Ogre/Kumho Tyre couldn't manage to replace the basket in a timely manner, meaning it would be a 20-0 win for Tarvas/Palmse Metall.
The verdict was reached in accordance to Triobet BBL Regulations, section 6.13, "In case the backboard of the basket is broken during the game, the home team must provide its replacement in approximately 30 (thirty) minutes, but no later than in 45 (forty five) minutes: game lost by forfeit."
JURMALA – Although overshadowed by other events in the Triobet BBL, today Jurmala/Fenikss secured a very important victory against Group A rivals Port of Parnu, 61-56, despite getting off to a rough start.
While it all started out fairly close, Port of Parnu soon managed to take control, as they rocketed ahead in the final minutes of the first quarter with an 8-0 run, giving them a 20-11 advantage.
The margin increased to a game-high 12 points in the second quarter, but the Jurmala side were far from breaking down completely.
After the break, the Latvians managed to cut into the deficit very quickly, and nothing but three points separated the two clubs after three quarters.
Jurmala/Fenikss completed the comeback in the final quarter, as they tied it up on the 33rd minute and then jumped ahead. The final minutes were nerve-wrecking for both sides, as neither team managed to get anything to fall.
That was in favor of the Latvian team, of course, as they eventually got the victory.
Arturs Strelnieks was the leading scorer for Jurmala, as he tallied 14 points and 5 rebounds. Meanwhile, Jekabps Rozitis added 12, while Ugis Pinete chipped in with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
On the other side, it was Vaidotas Volkus with the best offensive output, as he scored 16 points. Saimon Sutt, Reinar Hallik and Norman Kabin added 9 points apiece.
Just three games played this week, but that doesn‘t mean we didn‘t have some special performances in the Triobet BBL. One of those special moments was a new season record for most rebounds in a game being set. BBL.net keeps everything in place with the seventh volume of the Triobet BBL Weekly Review.
MVP. Thomas van der Mars had done it again. A third Player of the Week award for the Dutchman after he put up an immense performance with 12 points, 15 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks and 2 assists. This performance helped AVIS Rapla win for the fourth time in five games.
RECORD. Denis Krestinin would have claimed the MVP title this week had his team outperformed Parnu. The Lithuanian big man was absolutely incredible fighting in the paint, as he broke this season’s BBL record for most rebounds. Krestinin tore down 18 boards, while also accounting for 15 of Barons’ points.
OUT. The first stage of the FIBA Europe Cup is done, and three Baltic clubs have already been knocked out. Siauliai, TLU/Kalev and Tartu finished the season with a combined record of 0-14, as they were bottomfeeders of their respective groups.
THRILLER. The game between Jekabpils and TTU took an unexpected turn in the final quarter, as the Estonians raced back into contention. With three minutes remaining, it was still a 12-point game for Jekabpils, but TTU mounted an impressive run to bring the game within one-shot range. Nevertheless, they just ran out of time and Jekabpils squeezed by with a win.
COMEBACK. In the other game of that same day, we did see an even greater comeback. With two minutes remaining Barons still had the upper hand with a 9-point advantage, yet Port of Parnu did not let up, and started hitting everything. Literally, they did not miss a single shot. The game went on to OT, where Parnu proved to be the better side.