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.
PRIENAI – Vytautas continued its unbeaten run in Triobet BBL, registering an easy 77-68 victory against the visiting TTU to improve to a 7-0 record mark in Group B on Tuesday evening. Meanwhile, the Estonian club finds itself in a completely different situation, as the loss saw them drop to 0-7.
The hosts, led by Laimonas Kisielius, who collected eight points in the opening quarter, went on an early run and finished the first period up 21-13. TTU tried to keep things interesting, cutting the deficit to three points before the halftime break, but it was Vytautas who finished the second quarter stronger for a 38-31 lead at the interval.
The Lithuanian side increased their advantage to double figures in the third quarter and went on to claim yet another confident win this season.
Kisielius led all scorers with 28 points and five rebounds, Vaidas Cepukaitis scored 16 points and brought down seven boards, with no other players scoring in double digits for Vytautas.
For TTU, Toomas Raadik had a team-high 18 points to go along six rebounds, while Mooses Kaja finished the game with 11 points off the bench.
It did not take long for Paulius Petrilevicius to find his rhythm in Estonia after joining Port of Parnu merely a month ago, as the 24-year-old Lithuanian forward flourished in his new team and notched up November MVP honors in Triobet BBL.
Having endured a rough start of the season, Port of Parnu noticeably picked up their game after the arrival of Petrilevicius, who did not hesitate to make an impact, eventually helping the Estonian side pick up its first win against Nevezis.
In the three games for his new team, the player has averaged 20.7 points, 8 rebounds, 2.3 assists per game and is the most efficient player in Triobet BBL with an average ranking of 24.7.
His best performance came in his debut, scoring 20 points, grabbing eight rebounds, dishing out four assists and coming up with three steals in a 74-81 loss against TLU Kalev.
Petrilevicius will be presented with the award on December 2 at Port of Parnu’s home game against one of Group A leaders Valmiera/ORDO.
It is already the second time this season that the monthly MVP award is going to a Port of Parnu player, with Andrew Warren claiming the honors in October.
With the season in full swing, it was yet another eventful week in the league, marked with Vytautas blowing out Liepaja/Triobet in the biggest duel of the season so far and Port of Parnu finally getting their first win. Let’s take a look at the greatest performances of the week in the fifth volume of the Triobet BBL Weekly Review!
LAST TEAM STANDING. Although it is too early to predict what the final standings are going to look at the end of the regular season, but it is safe to say that Vytautas find themselves in an exceptional position at the moment. The Lithuanians became the last unbeaten team in Triobet BBL after destroying Liepaja/Triobet at home in Prienai. In an unexpectedly one-sided game, Vytautas scored an 89-60 win against the Latvians, who also came in with a clean record, but were handed the first loss in emphatic fashion.
WINNING. After claiming October MVP honors a month ago, Andrew Warren delivered big time for Port of Parnu once again. A stroke of brilliance by the American, who drained a game-winning three-pointer in the dying seconds of the game, allowed the Estonian squad to finally open their victory count this season. Now, only TTU are yet to get the its first win.
BACK ON TRACK. Having dropped two games in a row, Barsy got back to winning ways on Thursday as they clipped Jurmala/Fenikss 72-66. Having fallen short by two points against Jekabpils a few days ago, succeeding to end the draught will be a good sign for Oleg Kiselev’s side, who find themselves with a 3-4 record in Group B.
INTERVIEW. In his interview with BBL.net, the league’s October MVP Andrew Warren spoke about his life in Estonia, the rough start of the season, getting the first win and continuing to improve. Read the full interview here.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK. There was no match for TLU Kalev’s guard Johhny Berhanemeskel this week, as the American collected 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block for a total ranking of 29, as the Estonian side registered an 87-72 victory against Barons/LDz.