Although there is still one week of action remaining in the regular season of Triobet BBL, five teams have already played all 12 games in the first stage of the competition. As other teams compete for play-off seeding, Lietkabelis, Liepaja/Triobet, Jurmala/Fenikss, Barsy and TTU can only wait for the events to unravel.
Let’s take a look back at the outstanding performances of the week in another volume of Triobet BBL Weekly Review!
NOTHING LASTS FOREVER. All good things come to an end and Vytautas’ winning streak in Triobet BBL was no exception, as the Lithuanian side suffered its first defeat of the season at the hands of Jurmala/Fenikss after winning the first 10 games of the campaign. The Latvian side took care of the short-handed Vytautas 68-53 at home in Jurmala, with Ugis Pinete leading the way with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc..
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE. While TTU will certainly be happy about finishing the regular season with two wins in a row, they found their game slightly too late. The team from the Estonian capital had lost ten straight games to start the season in Triobet BBL, but defeated Jurmala/Fenikss (79-75) and Barsy (78-77) in their final two matches. It would take Port of Parnu to lose their final game against Nevezis northwards of 40 points to have even theoretical chances of making it through to the play-offs.
KEEPING IT CLOSE. Over the course of the season, Port of Parnu have won two games. Both of them came after last-second game-winning shots. Earlier in the season, Andrew Warren made one against Nevezis. This week, Mark Dorris, who replaced Warren over the Christmas break, got one too. The American guard drained a fade-away jumper with 0.8 seconds to spare, as Port of Parnu inscribed a 74-73 victory against Group A rivals Barons/LDz.
BOUNCING BACK. After two unexpected losses in a row, Valmiera/ORDO bounced back to winning ways after handling the visiting Lietkabelis at home in Latvia. The Valmiera side squeezed out an 87-85 victory against the Group A leaders, marking the debut of Roberts Stelmahers with a victory. Veteran guard Armands Skele showed how it’s done by dropping 15 points and grabbing five rebounds to guide the home side to a win.
NIP AND TUCK. It would be difficult to imagine a much closer game than the one in Jekabpils, which saw the hosts welcome Liepaja/Triobet on Wednesday. Throughout the game, neither side led by more than four points, but it was Jekabpils who triumphed down the stretch, picking up a 72-70 win after the lead changed hands 20 times and the score was tied on 17 occasions.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK. The most impressive performance of the week came in Jekabpils, where Modestas Kumpys paced the home side to a win against Liepaja/Triobet. The Lithuanian swingman scored 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds, dished out four assists and made 4-of-8 shots from three-point range for a total index ranking of 30.
RAKVERE – With teams scrambling to improve their positions ahead of the Triobet BBL Play-Offs, Tarvas managed to do just that by handing another loss to Barsy with a 102-67 victory at home in Estonia on Wednesday evening.
In a relatively closely packed Group B, the hosts improved to a solid 6-4 record with two games remaining, while Barsy finished their regular season campaign with a 3-9 mark, having lost the last five games after solid start.
A high-scoring opening quarter saw Tarvas take a 32-23 lead that grew to 57-35 at the halftime break after the Estonians won the second period as well. Latvian scoring machine Roberts Stumbris was very much at fault, having scored 18 points in the first half.
The one-sided game continued after the break, as Tarvas won the third quarter 22-14 to increase the advantage to 26 points before finishing all formalities in the final frame.
Reinis Strupovics finished the game with a game-high 26 points, Stumbris collected 21 points, while David Haughton collected 18 points and six rebounds for the Rakvere side.
For Barsy, Michael Burwell and Mikhail Yevstigneev were the only player in double figures with 19 and 11 points respectively. Ryan Cook collected nine, while Dmitriy Klimov added eight.
JEKABPILS – No more than four points separated the teams in the all-Latvian clash in Jekabpils, as Jekabpils claimed a 72-70 win against Liepaja/Triobet at home/on the road in Group B action on Wednesday.
The first two quarters did not help to establish any sort of a gap between the sides – Jekabpils won the first quarter by a pair of points, but Liepaja/Triobet won the second period by just as many. At the half, the score was tied at 40-40.
The third quarter had its ups and downs, with the hosts once again taking a small edge, 60-58. Although the margin remained miniscule, Liepaja/Triobet had shortly got in front, but a corner three-pointer by Modestas Kumpys allowed Jekabpils to go back in front at 70-68.
Liepaja/Triobet also had multiple chances to tie the game, but two empty trips to the stripe and four missed free-throws by Karlis Grigaluns in the final minutes eventually proved too costly, as Jekabpils got the home win.
Kumpys led the hosts with a great all-around performance of 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists, his Lithuanian teammate Ronaldas Rutkauskas added 16 points and 12 boards, while Tyler Larson finished the game with 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds, but shot only 5-of-19 from the field.
For Liepaja/Triobet, Zack Stephan and Arnolds Helmanis had 14 points apiece while, Roberts Krastins collected 12 points.
PARNU – Mark Dorris drained a game-winning shot with only moments to spare, as Port of Parnu inscribed its second win of the season after taking a 74-73 victory against the visiting Group A rivals Barons/LDz at home in the Estonian resort on Tuesday evening.
Now 2-9, Port of Parnu are still in contention for a spot in the Triobet BBL Play-Offs and will have one game to improve their situation. Meanwhile, Barons/LDz dropped to 3-7 after two big wins to start the year.
Dorris finished the game with a team-high 17 points and stepped up late, when his team needed it most. Heading into the final quarter, Barons/LDz held a 61-55 edge, but the hosts battled back and tied things at 68-all with three and a half minutes remaining.
The lead changed hands a couple of times in the final period. With 21 seconds left, Hipp had given the visitors a one-point lead, but it was Dorris, who had the last say, draining a game-winner with 0.8 seconds left.
In the final possession, Barons/LDz could not get a shot off in time, allowing Port of Parnu to triumph in the end.
Joonas Jervelainen had 11 points for the hosts, while Norman Kabin and Mihkel Kirves finished the game with 10 points apiece.
Arturs Ausejs stayed hot, but 20 points from him wasn’t enough. Jason Calliste and Salvis Metra had 13 points each, but the bench contributed only nine points.
JURMALA – On Tuesday evening, Jurmala/Fenikss proved that nothing lasts forever by taking a 68-53 victory against Vytautas and handing the short-handed Lithuanian side its first loss of the season in Triobet BBL.
The win allowed the hosts to improve to a 5-7 record. There will be no major implications for the Group B leaders in terms of the standings for Vytautas, who now have a 10-1 mark.
A low-scoring first quarter left teams in a deadlock at 11-all after the first ten minutes of play. Although Jurmala/Fenikss did perform slightly better in the second period and went up 30-25, it was not until the second half that the hosts made a significant move.
A strong third quarter allowed Jurmala/Fenikss to run away to a secure double-digit advantage, as the short-handed Vytautas, with only seven players, tried every way they could, but there just was not enough steam in the engine to make a run in the fourth-quarter.
Ugis Pinete had a nice all-around performance with 15 points, 6 rebounds and five assists, Kristaps Mediss added 11 points, while Andrew Smith chipped in with 10 points in a winning effort.
For the other side, Vytautas Sulskis was the top scorer with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Vilmantas Dilys collected 14 points, while Laimonas Kisielius had 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists, but turned the ball over eight times before fouling out.
TALLINN – TLU Kalev continued their good run of play in Triobet BBL by defeating AVIS Rapla 83-57 in an all-Estonian battle in Group A on Tuesday evening in Tallinn.
The win saw the side from the Estonian capital improve to a 6-5 record, while the visitors from Rapla dropped to 7-4. Both teams have one game remaining in the regular season.
After a very close opening quarter, the hosts went on an 8-1 run to start the second period, starting to slowly pull away. By the end of the first half, TLU Kalev found themselves with a 43-30 advantage.
The game continued going very much the way the home side wanted, with the lead growing to 24 points during the third period. The fourth quarter, at that point, was merely a formality.
Thomas Droney and Dominykas Milka scored 20 points each for the winners, with the Lithuanian center also adding eight rebounds. Zach Atkinson chipped in with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
VALMIERA – Having secured the top spot in Group A in advance, Lietkabelis took the foot off the gas pedal and finished the Triobet BBL regular season with an 87-85 loss on the road against Valmiera/ORDO, who got a much-needed win after two consecutive losses.
The Lithuanian side finished group play with a 10-2 record, while Valmiera/ORDO are now 8-3 and have another game remaining against AVIS Rapla, which will decide the fate of the second place.
It was the hosts who started the game slightly better, building a 21-17 edge after the first quarter of play. However, Lietkabelis responded with a strong second period and finished the half up 41-40.
After the break, Valmiera/ORDO regained control and got back in front. With a couple of minutes played in the final quarter, the home side was up 66-59, but a couple of shots by Brandis Raley-Ross and Simas Buterlevicius quickly evened things up.
The scores was tied at 77-77 with three minutes left, but solid play down the stretch and a couple of crucial misses from the free-throw line by Lietkabelis allowed the hosts to triumph.
Armands Skele paced the winners with a team-high 15 points, Raimonds Gabrans added 14 points off the bench, while Aigars Skele chipped in with 13 points and six assists for Valmiera/ORDO.
Meanwhile, Mile Ilic was the top scorer for Lietkabelis with 15 points in 16 minutes of playing time. Buterlevicius scored 14 points, while Jermaine Love collected 13 points.
TALLINN – After starting the Triobet BBL regular season with ten consecutive losses, TTU finished it with two wins in a row, as Kirstjan Makke’s game-winner saw the Estonians nip Barsy 78-77 at home in Tallinn on Monday evening.
Having finished Group B play with a 2-10 record, TTU still have chances to make the Play-Offs if results go their way in Group A and enough Baltic teams qualify to the knockout stage of the FIBA Europe Cup.
After an excellent start of the game, the hosts went up 15-4, but Barsy responded with a 22-3 run and finished the first quarter with a 26-18 advantage. It was mostly Michael Burwell and Ryan Cook doing the damage and TTU did a better job of containing them in the second period, cutting the deficit to four points, as teams left for the interval.
The second half began with a low-scoring third quarter, which did not change much. Barsy did win the stretch by a single point, extending their lead to 58-53, but TTU stayed within striking distance.
However, a 10-0 run in the middle of the fourth quarter saw the hosts storm back in front to take a 69-67 advantage with four minutes left. Barsy had regained the lead with under a minute left, but Makke tied things up from the free-throw line, making one-of-two.
On the other end, Cook also made only one, leaving TTU 12 seconds to either win the game or force overtime. It proved to be enough for Makke, who drained a cold-blooded game-winner with no time on the clock.
Makke, Corey Raley-Ross and Kristjan Kitsing all finished with 13 points apiece for the winners, while Burwell and Cook had 22 each for Barsy.
Another action-packed week has gone by in Triobet BBL, as TTU finally got their first win, Barons/LDz continued their hot streak, while Valmera/ORDO brought in a new coach to bring them out of the slump. Meanwhile, Lietkabelis and Vytautas can now celebrate finishing atop Group A and B respectively.
Let’s take a look back at the outstanding performances of the week in another volume of Triobet BBL Weekly Review!
FINALLY. It took several months and eleven tries, but TTU eventually got the first win of the season in Triobet BBL, defeating Jurmala/Fenikss 79-75 on Tuesday. While it is too late to climb out of the bottom of Group B, the Estonian side will be happy to have finished the regular season with at least one win in their account. They will have a chance to add another victory on Monday, when they face Barsy in Tallinn.
ROLLING. With the turn of the calendars to 2016, something definitely happened to Barons/LDz. The team from Riga continued steamrolling their opponents in the new year and most recently claimed the scalp of Valmiera/ORDO. What was even more impressive, they won by 42 points. After one more barrage of three-pointers, Barons/LDz celebrated a 111-69 victory.The team as a whole made 11-of-22 from beyond the arc. After starting the year with two wins, Barons/LDz improved to a 3-7 record in Group A.
BUSY WEEK. It was a busy week for AVIS Rapla, who had three Triobet BBL games on their schedule this week. Having won two and lost one, the Estonian side shares a 7-3 record with Valmiera/ORDO, as both teams are in a race for the second place in Group A. AVIS Rapla will next play TLU Kalev before meeting Valmiera/ORDO on January 26. However, for Valmiera/ORDO, the next game is against Lietkabelis, which will undoubtedly be a tough one.
NEW COACH. After starting the year with two defeats in Triobet BBL, Valmiera/ORDO hired coach Roberts Stelmaheris to lead the team. The former point guard is a three-time Baltic champion, with the first two trophies coming as a player with Lietuvos Rytas and the third already as a coach with Ventspils in 2013. Can the new coach turn things around in Valmiera?
GIANT-SLAYERS. Lietkabelis has been on a remarkable run after the arrival of Kazys Maksvytis. Already guaranteed the top spot in Group A, not only are the Panevezys club cruising in the Triobet BBL, they are doing miracles in the domestic front as well. In a span of a week, the Lithuanian side defeated Lietuvos Rytas and Neptunas and looking to be in red-hot form heading into BBL Play-Offs.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK. Barons/LDz sharpshooter Arturs Ausejs has had a perfect start of the year and put up the best performance of the week this time round. In a lopsided win against Valmiera/ORDO, Ausejs scored 36 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the field to go along seven assists for a total index rating of 36.
PARNU – A thrilling battle between two Estonian clubs took place in Parnu, as AVIS Rapla edged Port of Parnu 80-79 after 45 minutes of basketball.
The first quarter brought five lead changes to the table, as the two sides kept on trading blow after blow and it was merely three points in between the two clubs after ten minutes.
While the pace of the game slowed down in the second period, neither team took advantage and the same three points separated at halftime.
Parnu managed to give themselves some room mid-third quarter, as they jumped ahead by 8, but a 13-2 run allowed Rapla to come right back.
The home side held a slight advantage for much of the fourth quarter. The teams traded three-pointers and it was still Parnu up by one. William Artino had the chance to give his team the lead but missed one of his two free-throws and the game went on to overtime.
Port of Parnu seemed dominant in regulation, as they quickly racked up a 6-point lead, but were rebuffed in just a few moments, as they turned the ball over four times in the final 90 seconds.