RAPLA – Port of Parnu couldn’t capitalize on the golden opportunity to claim their second victory in Triobet BBL this season, wasting an eight-point lead in the final frame before finally surrendering 78-75 to AVIS Rapla in an all-Estonian clash in Group A on Tuesday evening.
AVIS Rapla continued their excellent start of the season by extending the winning streak to three games, which puts the side’s overall record at 5-2. Meanwhile, even a 40-point performance by Andrew Warren wasn’t enough for Port of Parnu.
After a relatively even opening quarter, Port of Parnu managed to get a slight edge over their rivals in the second period, but the nip-and-tuck battle continued until the end of the first half for the most part.
Up 37-33 at the halftime break, the visitors maintained the upper hand in the third period, but AVIS Rapla stayed close. However, a 6-0 run to close the third quarter saw Port of Parnu take a 55-49 lead into the final frame.
The hosts had fallen behind by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter, but battled back and took the lead at 62-61 with three minutes remaining after Martin Paasoja drained a jumper.
Port of Parnu had tied things up at 66-66, but Domagoj Bubalo gave AVIS Rapla the lead once again with a dunk while Sven Kaldre capitalized on a turnover and converted a fast break to make it a four-point game.
Andrew Warren had cut Port of Parnu’s deficit to a single point, but the hosts sealed the win with confident play down the stretch.
Bubalo finished the game with 20 points and nine rebounds, Kaldre chipped in with 15 points and four assists, while Devin Brooks also added 15.
Rain Raadik was the only other Port of Parnu player, other than Warren, to reach double figures, with 10 points and seven rebounds to his name. Triobet BBL November MVP Paulius Petrilevicius added seven points, seven rebounds.
PARNU – The decision to change clubs in the beginning of November is proving to be an excellent one for Paulius Petrilevicius, who chose to give up a bench role at Juventus to try his luck in Estonia, immediately becoming a Triobet BBL sensation for Port of Parnu.
Rewarded for his stellar play with a November MVP award, the 24-year-old is leading the league in efficiency and has made quickly become one of the leaders at his new club, averaging 19.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.8 during his Estonian experience so far.
BBL.net asked Petrilevicius some questions about the interesting season he has been having so far, how he has managed to adapt to life in Estonia and the goals for future.
Paulius, congrats on winning the MVP of the month award. You have become one of the club’s most important players despite arriving only a month ago. How did your new teammates welcome you and help to adjust?
Thank you for the congratulations. My teammates at the Parnu team are extra friendly. They helped me to adapt not only on the basketball court, but also in a new city. When I came to Parnu, everything seemed new and a little scary, but now I’m feeling great here.
What do you think you bring to the team on the court? Did you talk with the coach about what he expects from you, are there any specific tasks that he has set?
We didn’t speak with the coach about the special tasks I need to do. But as I know, the team was looking for a player who can take rebounds and help in defense. I am trying to do the best I can.
Why did you part ways with your previous team Juventus and what were the main reasons why you decided to continue your career in Estonia?
Juventus team needed a different player and maybe they wanted a stronger player. I didn’t feel useful and that was the main thing why I decided to change teams. After all, I spoke with my agent and he found me some options where to go. In the end, I chose Parnu and I am really happy to be here! All in all, I'm feeling really comfortable here, the main thing is that I have possibilities to play to my full capability.
How much did you know about Estonian basketball before and how has your opinion changed since coming to Parnu?
Before I came to Estonia I knew that basketball here is the same we play in Lithuania or in other countries. I haven’t noticed any differences yet.
What do you hope to accomplish this season with Parnu in the Estonian league and in BBL?
I hope that our team will be successful and will reach as many wins as possible. The main aim of mine is to improve each and all parts of my game.
You’re still a young player who is on the path of improvement. What are the specific areas of your game that you’re trying to improve right now?
I am trying to improve practically all parts of my game because, as we all know, perfection has no limits.
Is there anything you would like to say to Parnu fans?
I would like to say big thanks for all who are interested in basketball and supports our team. Thank you that you all believe in us.
The first week of December basketball is already in the books and the oft-headlined streaks have not yet been broken. There were some outstanding displays throughout the Baltics nevertheless, so let’s take a look at the top performances with the seventh volume of the Triobet BBL Weekly Review!
MVP. The season was already underway when Paulius Petrilevicius joined Parnu, but that did not stop him from having an immediate impact on the club. The forward averaged 20.7 points, 8 rebounds and 2.7 assists throughout the month and was named the most valuable player for the month of November. Petrilevicius was just as impressive this week, as he recorded a double-double against Valmiera/ORDO.
BLOW-OUTS. It was a week full of lopsided performances, as six of seven games ended with a double-digit margin. The victors of each game were decided by an average split of 19 points.
SHAKE-UP. Lietkabelis decided to shake things up in the locker room, as Kazys Maksvytis took the coaching reigns, while former head coach Gintaras Kadziulis stepped down to an assistant role. Maksvytis has already secured his first win with the club, bashing TLU Kalev 101-72.
SEVEN. While it may not be 21-0, Vytautas do have something to be proud of too – with a 77-68 victory against TTU, they made it to seven games undefeated and retained the best record in the league.
NOT YET. Every team in the league has managed to win at least once this season. Every team except TTU, that is. The Estonians suffered two big losses this week to fall all the way to a 0-8 record.
TUNROVER! Kiur Akenparg has had a rollercoaster of a season – after averaging 23 points throughout the first five games, including two 32-point outings, the Estonian dropped down to just 7.3 points in the last three games. To make things worse, he had a terrible night handling the ball against Vytautas, as he turned the ball over 8 times, a new low in the league this season.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK. Laimonas Kisielius has been splendid for Vytautas throughout the season, yet he still manages to surprise. The Vilnius-born forward shot lights-out against TLU Kalev, knocking down six-of-eight from beyond the three-point line, five-of-six inside the arc and totaled 28 points. He also added 5 rebounds to the stat-sheet and amassed a staggering 32 ranking points.
Five Triobet BBL clubs were participating in the regular season of the inaugural edition of the FIBA Europe Cup, with four of them progressing to the next stage. It is now clear that Siauliai will join the battles in Triobet BBL from the Play-Offs, with participation of other teams depending on whether they reach the elimination round in the continental competition.
With the group stage of FIBA Europe Cup now in the books, BBL.net brings you a round-up of last week’s action and a look ahead at the prospects of the Baltic clubs to go even further.
Ventspils 96-73 PGE Turow
Having gone through the group stage without a single loss, Ventspils added an impressive 96-73 victory against the visiting PGE Turow to finish Group I play with a squeaky clean 6-0 record.
In an excellent all-around team performance, seven players reached double figures for the Latvian side, with Damier Pitts leading the way with 15 points. Andrejs Selakovs had 13 points and seven rebounds, while Kwamain Mitchell added 12 points and five assists.
The win also ensured that the other Baltic team in the group, Pieno Zvaigzdes, progressed to the next round. In the next stage, Ventspils will play against CEZ Nymburk, Antwerp Giants and Lukoil Academic.
Pieno Zvaigzdes 86-76 Helios Suns
Pieno Zvaigzdes were one of the last teams to punch a ticket to the next round, as the Lithuanians registered an 86-76 victory against Helios Suns to claim the second place in the group with a 3-3 mark after getting help from Ventspils, who defeated PGE Turow in the other game in Group I.
An impressive performance by Demond Carter paved the way for the Pieno Zvaigzdes victory, as the American scored 21 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists. Zygimantas Skucas was solid once again, scoring 16 points, while veteran Steponas Babrauskas collected 15.
Drawn into the same group as the legendary BC Cibona, the Pasvalys side will also face STB Le Havre and Energia Targu Jiu in the next stage.
Khimik 81-56 TU/Rock
It wasn’t the best way to end the group stage, but an 81-56 loss to Khimik did not impact TU/Rock, 3-3, in any way, as the Estonian side had secured a place in the next round already in the penultimate round.
Interestingly enough, all ten registered players for TU/Rock scored in the game, but none of them scored more than Evaldas Zabas’ team-high nine points. Tanel Kurbas added eight points in a generally low-scoring effort for the Tartu club.
Waiting for TU/Rock in the next round are a number of well-known clubs: BC Enisey, FoxTown Cantu and Elan Chalon.
Juventus 94-67 ETHA
Despite finishing third in Group L, Juventus progressed to the next round as one of the best third-placed teams with a 3-3 record and a good point differential after an impressive 94-67 victory against ETHA at home in Utena.
The big man duo of Edgaras Zelionis and Egidijus Dimsa scored 16 points each, while Chavaughn Lewis and Martynas Linkevicius collected 15 points apiece.
Juventus will play against Mons-Hainaut, Bakken Bears and their Group L rivals Khimik in the next stage in what can probably considered a rather favorable draw.
Inter Bratislava 85-100 Siauliai
Siauliai became the only Triobet BBL team to fall short of qualifying for the next round in FIBA Europe Cup, despite finishing the regular season with a solid 100-85 win against Inter on the road in the Slovakian capital Bratislava.
Assem Marei had a monstrous double-double of 17 points and 15 rebounds on excellent 8-of-9 shooting from the field, Cameron Ayers also scored 17, while Arturas Jomantas had 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Having won three games and lost three, the back-to-back Baltic champions finished third in Group M.
Estonian side Kalev/Cramo, who are not participating in Triobet BBL this season, also did not qualify, losing all six games in Group H.
PANEVEZYS – Life under a new coach for Lietkabelis began on a good note, as the Lithuanian side marked the debut of Kazys Maksvytis with a convincing 101-72 victory against the visiting TLU Kalev at home in Panevezys on Thursday.
Now leading Group A with a 6-1 record, Lietkabelis decided to change coaches earlier this week due to struggles in the domestic league. Previous head coach Gintaras Kadziulis stayed on the team and will now serve an assistant’s role.
The Lithuanians wasted little time fooling around and jumped out to a 22-12 lead already seven minutes into the game. Having finished the first quarter with a nine point advantage, Lietkabelis consolidated their dominance by increasing the gap to 22 points.
There was simply on answer to the home side’s offensive firepower, as TLU Kalev fell behind even more in the second half, dropping to a 3-5 mark.
Lietkabelis’ big man Mile Ilic had a team-high 16 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, Arturas Valeika collected 13 points, seven boards, two steals and two blocks, while Arnas Labuckas also chipped in with 13 points.
For TLU Kalev, Johnny Berhanemeskel was the top scorer with 22 points and six boards, Kaido Saks dropped 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds, but it wasn’t enough for Estonian side to even think about keeping it close.
PARNU – It was a dominant display throughout the whole game for Valmiera, as they jumped ahead early and cruised to a 92-69 victory against Port of Parnu for their fifth victory.
Valmiera opened the game outscoring Parnu 17-2 in the first five minutes. A couple minutes later, the margin had already reached 19.
Parnu did not manage to cut into the lead in the second period and were already down by 24 at halftime. The home side‘s woes just continued in the second half, as Valmiera‘s lead was pushed to 36.
It was all said and done after three quarters and despite Parnu‘s last quarter surge, nothing could be done.
Aigars Skele and Haralds Karlis led Valmiera/ORDO in scoring with 17 points, while Armands Skele added 15 to the total. Arturs Berzins ended the game with 11 points, while Davis Rozitis was good for 10.
Paulius Petrilevicius was a bright spot in an otherwise dim performance, as the Lithuanian scored 17 points, tallied 10 rebounds and dished out 4 assists. Robert Valge and Rain Raadik chipped in with 15 apiece, while Silver Leppik ended the game with 12 points and 7 rebounds.
KEDAINIAI – After a terrific showcase in the national front, Nevezis built on it and were also victorious in the Group A matchup against TLU Kalev, taking a big 84-61 after a dominant second half.
While it was the home side opening the game with two baskets, TLU Kalev answered back with 8 points of their own. Nevertheless, neither team managed to amass a tangible lead and only two points separated the sides after ten minutes.
The Lithuanians were up throughout the entire second period and entered halftime with a four point advantage. They slowly added to their lead after the break and were already up by 14 prior to the last quarter.
Nevezis harbored a large lead throughout the final ten minutes and celebrated their third victory in seven games.
Grant Johnson lit it up for 17 points off the bench, while Ernestas Ezerskis scored 14 with near-perfect shooting. Vaidotas Volkus had a double-double of 12 points and rebounds each, while Saah Nimley added 11 points to the total.
Reimo Tamm was the leading scorer for TLU, as he scored 15 points. Zachary Atkinson added 14 points, while Johnny Berhanemeskel finished the game with 13.
JEKABPILS – After a tough battle in Latvia, Jekabpils added another win to their tally, as they defeated TTU mostly due to their strong second quarter. The Latvians retained control of the lead and finished with a 70-55 advantage.
The opening quarter was truly a nip-and-tuck affair, as neither side managed to build any sort of lead. However, TTU Kalev were left scoreless for the four opening minutes of the second period and Jekabpils grew their lead to double-digits quickly.
By halftime, the double-digit advantage was still in play, as 11 points split the two teams. Jekabpils retained control of their advantage in the second half and were always in control. While TTU tried to make a final surge in the final minutes of the game, Jekabpils never looked in trouble and sprinted to the finish line.
Ronaldas Rutkauskas was the top performer in the game, as he collected 18 points and 10 rebounds for the victors. Tyler Larson added 14 points and 9 rebounds to the total, while Modestas Kumpys finished the game with 9 points and tallied 6 rebounds.
Kristjan Kitsing was the top scorer for TTU, as he scored 14 points. Kiur Akenparg added 11 points to the total, while Rait-Riivo Laane chipped in with 10 points.
LIEPAJA – After an excellent start of the season, Liepaja/Triobet fell into what can only be considered a slump, as one of Group B leaders were handed their second loss in a row by Jurmala/Fenikss, who triumphed in the all-Latvian derby 90-68 on Tuesday evening.
The team from Liepaja had won five in a row to start the season, but their second loss now leaves them with a 5-2 record, while Jurmala/Fenikss improved to 3-5.
After a relatively even opening quarter, the visitors broke away with a 10-0 run to start the second period. Jurmala/Fenikss led by as many as 17 points in the first half. The one-sided play continued in the second half as well, with Liepaja/Triobet struggling to get defensive stops against the inspired guests.
Ivars Zvigurs led the winners in scoring with 18 points, Ugis Pinete collected 16, while Edmunds Elksnis contributed with 15 points.
For Liepaja/Triobet, Khris Richard had 18 points and seven rebounds, Toms Leimanis scored 15 points and dished out nine assists, while Zack Stephan finished with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds.
RAPLA – AVIS Rapla climbed to third position in Group A on Tuesday after defeating Barons/LDz 74-62 at home in Estonia. Having won four games out of six, the Estonian side has looked good of late, while the club from Riga dropped to a 1-5 mark.
After a strong start AVIS Rapla found themselves up by double figures already five minutes into the game after Domagoj Bubalo’s three-pointer swished the net to make it 13-3. The hosts led by as many as 11 points, but a decent start of the second quarter allowed Barons/LDz to get back in the game.
However, AVIS Rapla finished the half with a 6-0 run to restore the nine points lead the hosts held after the opening quarter. The home side led by as many as 18 points in the third period and cruised home with the win in the final frame.
Bubalo was the key man for the winners with 17 points and seven rebounds on excellent 7-of-12 shooting from the field, Indrek Kajupank scored 15 points, while Devin Brooks finished the game with 10.
Meanwhile, Cliff Colimon and Arturs Ausejs collected 20 and 13 points respectively for Barons/LDz, with no other players reaching double figures in scoring.