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.
There are five Triobet BBL clubs participating in the inaugural edition of the FIBA Europe Cup. However, they will only join Triobet BBL Play-Offs if they fail to advance to the elimination stage in the continental competition.
As the group stage draws closer to the end, BBL.net brings you the latest international updates in a weekly round-up.
Ventspils 86-67 Pieno Zvaigzdes
Ventspils proved to be a class apart from the rest of the group, as they led from start to finish and stayed perfect with an 86-67 home win against Pieno Zvaigzdes. The Lithuanians dropped to a 2-3 record and will now need a victory and some help from Ventspils to advance.
Maris Gulbis led the Latvians in scoring with 12 points. Kristaps Janicenoks, who also had 10 assists, Alan Wiggins and Andrejs Selakovs all chipped in with 10 points.
Zygimantas Skucas had a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards for Pieno Zvaigzdes, as he led the team in both categories. Andriy Agafonov was good for 14 points and 9 rebounds, while Steponas Babrauskas ended the game with 10 points.
TU/ROCK 92-75 ETHA
TU/Rock were red hot throughout the game and enjoyed an easy 92-75 victory against visiting ETHA. They pulled away early in the second quarter and kept building on it after the break to secure a berth in the next round.
Evaldas Zabas was impressive for Rock, as he swished and dished for 22 points and 6 assists. Gert Dorbek added 21 points and 6 rebounds to the total, while Karolis Petrukonis secured 15 points. Brian Harper was an all-around threat in the game, as he added another 15 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists.
Khimik 80-72 Juventus
Despite being up by nine midway through the third quarter, Juventus were unable to keep hold of the lead for long, as Khimik raced off to an 18-6 run to jump ahead before the final segment. The Ukrainians were just too good in the final quarter and secured an 80-72 victory. Making it to the next round is now a longshot for Juventus, as they still hope to be one of the two best third-placed teams.
Edgaras Zelionis was the leading scorer for Juventus with 15 points, while Egidijus Dimsa added 13 points and 11 rebounds. Spencer Butterfield and Martynas Linkevicius chipped in with 12 and 10 points respectively.
Royal Hali Gaziantep 87-71 Siauliai
While they started off slow, Siauliai pulled ahead by four after an outstanding second quarter and seemed to be in a good position to contend for victory. However, they collapsed in the second half, as the Turkish club outscored them by 20 points to secure a blow-out 87-71 victory.
Paulius Dambrauskas was solid with 15 points for the visitors, while Assem Marei added another double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. David Dudzinski and Michaelyn Scott finished the game with 11 points apiece.
JURMALA – Thursday brought us only one game to the schedule but it sure was competitive, as Barsy barely escaped with a 72-66 victory against Jurmala/Fenikss in the Group B matchup.
Barsy took the lead early, as they raced off to a 9-1 start. Nevertheless, it didn‘t grow out to be anything more serious and the home side was back within a shout after ten minutes of action.
Jurmala/Fenikss finally reached their first lead midway through the second quarter, but the lead didn‘t stand for even a minute, as the Kazakhs regained control. They put up a good streak and were already up by double-digits a couple minutes into the third segment.
Although the visitors seemed to have built a solid lead, it was blown away in a matter of minutes after a 14-3 run by Jurmala. It was a seesaw affair in the final period, but Barsy managed to reach a two-possession lead when it mattered most, and bruised towards the victory.
Mikhail Yevstigneev was the top scorer for the visiting side with 16 points and 6 boards, while Ryan Cook added 14 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Michael Burwell added 11, while Dmitriy Gavrilov was also in double-digits with 10 points.
Casey Roberts led Jurmala with 18 points, as Endru Smits added 15 points and 6 rebounds. Edgars Jeromanovs finished the game with 14 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds.
PRIENAI – The only undefeated teams in Triobet BBL met in Prienai on Wednesday, with Vytautas coming out victorious against Liepaja/Triobet to keep the streak going following an emphatic 89-60 win.
Having improved to a 6-0 record, the Lithuanian side sits at the top of Group B standings, while Liepaja/Triobet suffering the first defeat and dropping to 5-1.
The hosts came out of the gates strong and quickly built a double-figure advantage, which was cut to 18-10 at the end of the opening quarter by a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Gints Antrops.
However, it was all downhill from there onward for Liepaja/Triobet as Vytautas got into rhythm and started to pull away rapidly. The gap had grown to 42-24 at the halftime break before increasing to 36 points after a monstrous third period.
Paced by veteran forward Dainius Salenga, the Lithuanians won the third period 31-13 and settled the outcome of the game well before the final quarter even began, winning the Group B leader duel in style.
Salenga finished the game with 19 points and six points, Gytis Sirutavicius and Paulius Ivanauskas collected 13 points, while Sarunas Vasiliauskas and Laimonas Kisielius scored 12 and 11 respectively.
For Liepaja/Triobet, Khristopher Richard was the only player in double figures with 11 points. Toms Leimanis and Janis Antrops added nine points apiece.
TALLINN – TLU Kalev climbed to third place in Group A after taking care of business against Barons/LDz at home in Tallinn and taking a 87-72 victory to improve to a 3-3 record.
Meanwhile, the struggling Latvian side dropped to 1-4 and now share the sixth spot in the group with Port of Parnu, who opened their victory count on Tuesday.
A good start of the game saw TLU Kalev take a 16-7 lead, as the hosts established firm control of the game. The gap between the sides had grown to 13 points in the second period, but the visitors trimmed the deficit to 42-37 at the halftime break.
For most of the second half, Barons/LDz by roughly 10 points, getting as close as five points on a few occasions. However, TLU Kalev sealed the deal in the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run to gain a 74-60 edge.
Johnny Barhanemeskel paced the winners with 24 points, Janis Vahter collected 20 points, while Zach Atkinson added 11 points and seven rebounds.
For Barons/LDz, Jason Calliste had a game-high 25 points, while Cliff Colimon and Malcolm Rhett scored 13 points each.
PARNU – Over the month that it took Port of Parnu to earn its first victory in Triobet BBL this season, Andrew Warren has been one of the few rays of sunlight for the fans of the Estonian club.
And that bright ray of sunlight was what eventually brought the first win along.
The 28-year-old American was very much the architect of the team’s first win, taking matters into his hands down the stretch and draining a game-winning pull-up jumper from beyond the arc with only seconds to spare.
Warren finished the night as the team’s top scorer once again, having collected 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field, as Port of Parnu took down the visiting Nevezis 81-80 on Tuesday night.
Averaging 22.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game, the guard is Triobet BBL’s leading scorer and ranks third in the league in steals. Having already picked up monthly MVP honors for October, Warren continues to shine in November as well.
First of all, congrats on picking up October MVP honors. What does the award mean to you personally?
Well, first of all thank you. The award means quite a bit to me and just shows that the hard work paid off this summer. You can’t get individual awards without having good teammates and stuff like that. Thanks to them for screening me, for getting me open, spacing the floor, allowing me to make the plays and to help me have good games to get that award.
The team has been struggling in the Triobet BBL so far. Although the results in the Estonian league are better, what do you need to do to turn it around?
Now I can say this, we got our first win tonight [Tuesday], which is a good sign of growth for us. I think the most important thing for us to be successful in the Baltic League is we just have to get better each and every game. We are a very young team and a lot of the teams we play are pretty experienced. But if we just come out and play hard, and play together, and continue to improve each and every game, I think the success will show and will start to turn around for us.
From the teams you played against in Group A, who – in your eyes – has looked the best? Is there anyone you would single out?
Lietkabelis is pretty good, Rapla has been playing well and Kalev, they beat us a few times, also in the Baltic League game. They’re just teams that play well, play together and have experienced guys. If we can take something form them and implement it to the things we do, we can play better against them and get wins against them.
You have travelled all around globe during your career, playing in Australia, Cyprus, Argentina and now Estonia. Do you enjoy getting to see different parts the world and various cultures, what is that like?
Yeah, I definitely do. It’s one of the things that’s like a hobby or a passion of mine. Speaking with people from different countries, from different backgrounds and getting to see them is really great. I really enjoy it. I think it’s one of the ways you can break down barriers and stereotypes, by living in different countries and interacting with people from different countries that have different customs, food and way of doing things. I think it allows you to have a better perspective on life, just to see how people live around the world.
How is Estonia different to the previous stops, both in terms of basketball and culturally?
It’s the coldest place I’ve played [laughs]. It’s different just because when I lived in Italy and Cyprus, it’s more of a Mediterranean type of culture. You know, Greek and Italian, are very old school, they have their own ways of doing things. Estonia has been good to me, the living has been good, even though it has been cold. They have nice gyms to play in and you have pretty much everything you need here. I enjoy it here. You know, I eat a lot of potatoes here, it’s probably the biggest difference food-wise than I’ve had in any other place. People are nice and friendly, and I’m enjoying my time here.
How do you usually spend your days in Parnu, what do you like to do during your free time?
Usually, I sit in my room, to be honest. Before the weather started getting a little colder, I would walk around or try to go to the town center and just walk around and try to get out of my hotel room a little bit. I try to interact with my teammates, we hang out. When we know we have a day off, we try to hang out, watch some TV or go out for a little bit. You know, do things that keep you sane, whatever that is. I talk to people back home as much as possible. Sometimes that means staying up kind of late because of the time change. But it’s necessary to keep your mind right.
Looking forward, what are your individual ambitions for the season and, at the same time, what would you like to achieve with the team this season?
Individual aspirations always turn into team aspirations for me. I’ve always been a team player. I know here I had to step up and take more of an individual approach to the game, just because we have a young team and more is needed out of me to be successful. But I just want to see us improve every day. I don’t like putting numbers out there and say we need to win this amount of games or do this. If we can just get better every game, every practice and as long as I can see the young guys grow and play better, we can come together and play better as a team, that’s enough for me.
Thank you, Andrew, and finally, can you say something in Estonian?
Yeah – aitäh, nägemist [thank you, goodbye]!
PARNU – There was plenty to celebrate for at the Parnu Sports Hall on Tuesday, as Andrew Warren drained a game-winning three-pointer to give Port of Parnu an 81-80 victory against Nevezis.
It was the first win for the Parnu club in Triobet BBL after losing the first four games. Meanwhile, the Lithuanian side dropped to a 2-4 mark.
The hosts got off to a miraculous start, taking a double-digit lead already in the first quarter behind terrific play from Andrew Warren, who scored 13 points in the opening frame.
Having led by as many as 16 points in the second period, Port of Parnu looked to be fully in control of the game, despite seeing their lead dwindle down to 46-37 heading into the halftime break.
Nevezis had closed the gap down to four points in third quarter, but the hosts went on another run to restore the double-digit lead. However, a 16-0 run for the Lithuanians turned the game on its head, with Nevezis turning an 11-point deficit into a 74-69 lead with four minutes remaining.
Trailing by six points with half a minute left, Port of Parnu finished the game with a quick 7-0 run, crowned by a three-pointer by Warren, who finished the game with 30 points, to give the Estonians their first victory.
Paulius Petrilevicius added 21 points and eight rebounds, while Silver Leppik was the only other Port of Parnu player in double figures with 10 points, 12 assists and seven steals.
For Nevezis, Andrius Aleksandrovas and Mindaugas Kupsas shared a team-high 16 points, with the latter also adding nine boards. Taylor King collected 12 points and eight rebounds.
JEKABPILS – Sandis Silavs stepped up for Jekabpils when it mattered the most, as the Latvian side triumphed 76-74 against the visiting Barsy on Tuesday evening in Latvia.
The victory allowed Jekabpils to improve to a 3-3 record in Group B, while Barsy dropped to 2-4.
It was a nip and tuck affair right from the get go, with neither side succeeding to establish a tighter grip on the lead. Despite finishing the first quarter with a slight deficit, the hosts enjoyed a better end to the half, jumping out to a 41-36 advantage before the interval.
Although the lead changed hands a couple times in the third quarter, Jekabpils stayed in front heading into the final frame with a 62-59 edge. However, Barsy went on an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter to overtake the hosts 67-64 with four minutes remaining.
With under 30 seconds remaining under Jekabpils down by two points, Sandis Silavs nailed a crucial three-pointer to give the home side a 75-73 advantage. On the other end of the court, Bryan Harrison made only one of two from the line for Barsy, with Silavs then going on to seal the win from the stripe.
Three players collected 14 points for Jekabpils – Silavs, Rinalds Sirsnins and Modestas Kumpys, while Ronaldas Rutkauskas added 13 points and eight rebounds.
For the visitors, Mikhail Yevstigneev had a game-high 19 points, Michael Burwell scored 14 points, while Harrison chipped in with 13 points and six rebounds.