JURMALA – Two winless clubs faced off in the Latvian seaside in the Group A matchup on Wednesday evening and it was the visiting Liepaja/Triobet that managed to come out on top. They stayed calm and nabbed an 81-76 win against hosting Jurmala/Fenikss.
It was a close affair from the very opening minute, as the teams traded blows back and forth. Trailing four, the home side put up a 9-0 run in just over a minute to jump ahead, but were thrown back with a couple of successful plays from Liepaja/Triobet.
Neither side managed to put up a strong enough quarter to get away before halftime and the margin kept swinging between two and four points in Liepaja’s favor.
Neither of the clubs could get any separation after halftime and it was apparent the game would go down to the wire. Mid-way through the quarter it was still all tied up, but that’s when Jurmala/Fenikss started messing up: they kept turning the ball over and missing shot after shot.
They were held scoreless for four minutes until they finally made a basket with 40 seconds on the clock, but Roberts Krastins' three-pointer on the other side of the court put the game to bed.
Davis Rozitis was the key man in the victory for Liepaja, as he tallied 20 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Lateef Mcmullan was also impressive with 18 points and 9 assists, while Arturs Ausejs added 17 points to the total.
It was another Rozitis, Jekabs, leading the way on the other side. He scored 21 points and added 7 rebounds but that was ultimately insufficient. Viktors Iljins added 16 points and 8 rebounds to the boxscore, while Edgars Jeromanovs showcased an all-around performance with 10 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds.
RAKVERE – Triobet BBL newcomer Ogre/Kumho Tyre tabbed their first ever victory in the league in spectacular fashion, becoming the first club to hit triple digits with a 101-79 victory against struggling Tarvas.
It all started very promising for the Latvian club, as they raced ahead from the very first minutes. They managed to tally a 9-point lead in the first ten minutes and just continued building on that throughout the game.
The second quarter brought even more dominance to the court, as Tarvas couldn’t do much to stop their opponents. The margin quickly rose to an indecent 21 points at halftime.
It seemed Tarvas had come alive after the break, going on a run to cut the margin to 14, but all their efforts were very soon rebuffed. Ogre/Kumho Tyre closed out the game strong and secured their first ever Triobet BBL win.
In what proved to be the more exciting opening game, Pieno Zvaigzdes, led by Andriy Agafonov’s 19 points, battled back from behind to take a thrilling 76-72 victory against Jekabpils
The home side started the game on a higher note, jumping to an early lead, yet a couple three-pointers from Pieno Zvaigzdes brought the teams back to level terms for a while.
After finishing the first quarter with a couple made baskets, Jekabpils carried it on to the second as well. They were converting on a good portion of their shots and it soon turned into a double-digit advantage for the Latvians.
Nevertheless, their ten point advantage was wiped away in a matter of minutes, as the Pasvalys side raced back. With only one point between the two clubs entering the final ten minutes, it was anybody’s game.
After trading bucket for bucket throughout the quarter, it ultimately came down to a free-throw shooting marathon in the final minute. Jekabpils had less luck today, and the Lithuanians came out on top.
For Pieno Zvaigzdes, it was Andriy Agafonov with 19 points leading the scoring charts. Derrick Low was impressive with 16 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds, while Osvaldas Olisevicius ended the game with 10 points to his name.
Three players reached double-digit scoring for the Latvian side, as Roberts Stumbris and Jurijs Aleksejevs led the way with 13 points apiece. Janis Antrops chipped in with 10, while Andrejs Selakovs dominated the backboard with 9 points and 14 rebounds.
What seemed to be turning into a thriller soon became a blowout, as a great second half propelled Valmiera/ORDO to their second win in the Triobet BBL, as they rushed past TTU 82-62 on Wednesday evening.
The start of the game predicted a close affair between the two clubs. Valmiera/ORDO struggled to get ahead early on and held just a two point lead after the first quarter.
TTU unexpectedly took control in the second quarter, as an impressive run put them ahead. Valmiera did regain some grounds and the two sides were separated by five points at halftime, the Estonians leading 38-33.
Everything changed after the break though, as Valmiera’s defense shackled TTU, as the Latvians took matters into their own hands. They quickly erased the deficit and before the final quarter, already held a 6 point lead.
It didn’t end there, as Valmiera continued lighting it up, running off to an insurmountable lead. They outpaced their opponents by 25 points in the final two quarters and that was enough to put the game out of reach.
Joonas Jarvelainen was one of the few bright spots for TTU, as he scored 22 points and tore down 9 boards. Sten Olmre was the closest to him in scoring with 12 points.
On the other side, the whole starting five contributed heavily to the team’s success. Martins Laksa led the way with 21 points, Lauris Blaus added 16, while the trio of Ovidijus Varanauskas (8 rebounds), Janis Kaufmanis (7 rebounds) and Ervins Jonats (10 rebounds and 6 assists) all chipped in with 11.
One good quarter was all it took to ensure a tremendous win for AVIS Rapla, as they thrashed Port of Parnu 85-67 in the only Triobet BBL game of Tuesday night.
AVIS Rapla now move on to a 2-0 record, while their opponents stand at an opposite record with two losses in as many games.
It didn‘t take too long for AVIS Rapla to show their upside, as they ran ahead 14-5 in just the opening three minutes. The margin had already reached 12 at one point in the initial quarter, but Port of Parnu managed to trim the deficit to just seven before the second quarter.
When it seemed the visitors might just have figured things out, Rapla raced back ahead. The three point margin that separated the teams turned into a 13-point spread at halftime, the hosts leading 51-38.
Just a single point in four minutes didn‘t help the cause and Port of Parnu went tumbling down to a 23-point disadvantage in a matter of minutes. After a run like this, the fourth quarter became merely a formality.
Domen Bratoz and Indrek Kajupank, who scored 18 points apiece, were the leading scorers for Rapla, as the latter also added 9 boards to the tally. Teammates Sven Kaldre and Martin Paasoja were also strong, as they scored 16 and 13 points respectively. Last week’s MVP Thomas van der Mars didn’t have as impressive a game as last time around, but he was still solid with 9 points and 8 rebounds.
For the losing side, it was Norman Kabin leading the way with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, while Vaidotas Volkus helped out with 13 points.
The off-season is done and Baltic basketball is already back on the table. With six games into the season, let’s round up the highlights of the opening week in the first edition of the Triobet BBL Weekly Review.
MVP. Thomas van der Mars edged out his opponents for the first Triobet BBL Player of the Week award with an outstanding performance against Nevezis. The AVIS Rapla big man torched his opponents with 23 points and added an impressive 13 rebounds to his stat-line, thus amassing an efficiency rating of 34.
YOUTH. It’s not every day that a team can proudly debut a U-16 player in a professional game, but Valmiera did just that... three times. In their season-opening win against Tarvas, coach Uvis Helmanis trusted two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old in Davids Viksne, Ojars Berzins and Maris Ramanis. All three players even managed to open their scoring tabs.
DEBUT. Not all debuts were as pleasant this week, though. Ogre/Kumho Tyre seemed to be doing all the right things for two quarters and held a double-digit advantage at the break, yet managed to let the victory slip from their fingertips, as they lost to Jekabpils in overtime, 82-86.
FREE THROWS? Things could have been much easier for Jekabpils had they been more efficient from the free-throw line. The team shot a dreadful 44 percent, making just 11 of 25 shots, with Andrejs Selakovs taking most of the blame. However, despite making just 4-of-12 of his shots, Selakovs still managed to come out in third place efficiency-wise this week.
CLUTCH. Tauras Jogela delivered when it mattered most. After going silent for nearly two quarters, the Lithuanian banged in a go-ahead three-pointer with eight seconds in the game, thus giving Barons kvartals their first win of the season.
We’re looking at five more games next week with AVIS Rapla and Port of Parnu playing on Tuesday, while Wednesday is looking to be busy with another four matchups scheduled.
Six games of the 2016-2017 Triobet Baltic Basketball League are in the books, alongside the first week, and it turns out there was no one who could deliver better for his team than Dutch center Thomas van der Mars did.
RIGA – In what proved to be the game of the night, Barons kvartals was the more clutch time, performing when it mattered most. They outperformed Liepaja/Triobet in the final 20 seconds and ended up going home with a 75-70 victory to start their BBL campaign.
There wasn’t much separation between the two sides early on, but Barons kvartals did have a small advantage for most of the first quarter. Nevertheless, their lead peaked at 6 points before the visitors regained some ground.
The Riga side managed to open the second quarter with a strong run and soon held a solid 9-point advantage. Once again, Liepaja/Triobet came running back with a 12-0 run to jump ahead.
The two sides traded basket after basket after halftime and Barons kvartals held a single-point advantage entering the final ten minutes. A couple of consecutive baskets helped Liepaja/Triobet regain pole position, but even as time wounded down, there was no telling who would come out on top.
With 20 seconds on the clock and the score all tied up, Barons kvartals had posession and Tauras Jogela made a wide-open three-pointer to put his team up by three. The visitors had eight seconds to respond, but turned the ball over, allowing Denis Krestinin to hammer down a dunk in transition to put the final nail in the coffin.
The two Lithuanians responsible for the five final points, Denis Krestinin and Tauras Jogela, led the team throughout the game. Krestinin accounted for 20 points and 8 rebounds, while his countryman added 17 points and 9 boards. Davis Geks and Roberts Freimanis chipped in with 11 apiece, while Kristaps Dargais ended the game with 9 points.
On the losing side, it was Lateef Mcmullan taking responsibility on the offensive end. He scored 18 points, yet only made 5 of his 20 shots from the field. Ryan Cook added 13 points, while Devonta Pollard finished close to a double-double with 9 points and 9 rebounds.
RAPLA – It didn‘t take long for AVIS Rapla to wrap things up against visiting Nevezis, as they got hot early and that was enough to take them to a 91-77 win on Wednesday evening.
Leading all the way from the first minute to the very last, Rapla had no trouble finding the basket early on. The hosts scored 26 points in the first quarter and set themselves up with an eight point advantage after the initial ten minutes.
Things just got better after that, as a 13-1 run to open the second quarter allowed the Estonian side to amass an 18-point advantage just halfway through the game.
It seemed Nevezis managed to get things back on track, while Rapla's offense slowed down in the second half.
The Lithuanians managed to cut the deficit to 13 before the final quarter and finally reached a single-digit margin with five minutes left on the clock. They made a couple more runs at the home side, but it was ultimately Rapla finishing on top with a safe lead.
Thomas van der Mars put up a really strong performance, tallying a double double of 23 points and 13 rebounds. Domen Bratoz added 15 points and 6 assists, while Indrek Kajupank and Rashem Suarez scored 12 each, with the latter also adding 5 assists and rebounds. Martin Paasoja ended the game with 11 points and 8 assists, while Sven Kaldre added another 11.
On the other side, Paulius Petrilevicius was solid with 20 points, as Jermaine Love and Toni Prostran finished the game with 13 apiece. Love also added 8 rebounds and 5 assists to the totals.
PASVALYS – Pieno Zvaigzdes did not have to wait long for their first victory of the 2016-2017 Triobet BBL season, as they took care of TTU on home grounds, taking the 77-55 win.
It was a pretty close affair for most of the game, as the hosts barely held a 4-point advantage after the first quarter and added an extra point in the second.
Pieno Zvaigzdes couldn‘t really find too much separation in the third quarter either, but still gradually increased their lead to 8 points. Nevertheless, the breakthrough was bound to happen at some point, and there was no holding back once it did. The hosts ended the game with a dominant quarter, outscoring their opponents by 14 points and going on to win the game 77-55.
There were four players with double-digit scoring for the team from Pasvalys, as Osvaldas Olisevicius led the way with 15. Ignas Fiodorovas and Dennis Balentine chipped in with 14, while Vilmantas Dilys had 10.
On the losing side, Sten Olmre was the sole bright spot, as he led the team with 13 points and 6 rebounds. Joonas Jarvelainen added 8 points and 7 boards to the tally.