Now that the third week of Triobet BBL basketball has been ticked off, it’s time to look back at the week’s top performances in the second volume of the Triobet BBL Weekly Review!
WINLESS. Four teams have struggled to find a winning recipe in the opening month of the season and are at the very bottom of their respective groups. TLU Kalev, Port of Parnu and Barons/LDZ have all lost twice and share the bottom spots in Group A, while TTU is in an even worse position, having lost all four games in Group B.
STARTING 5. No bench? No problem. Tarvas’ starting unit wasn’t provided with much firepower from the bench in their game against Barsy Atyrau, as the whole line of substitutes squeezed out merely five points. Despite that, the Estonians took care of business and tabbed a five-point victory.
CLOSE CALL. The week was full of nail-biting fourth quarters, as all-but-one game finished with a single-digit margin. The one most worthy of a mention took place in Panevezys, where Port of Parnu missed the opportunity to tie the game up or even win it against Lietkabelis with their final possession.
TURNAROUND. It was a rough tip-off for Barsy in their second game of the week, as they were down by as many as 13 points against TTU. However, that’s when the Kazakhs open-fired from long range, converting on 12-of-16 shots from beyond the arc en route to their first victory.
DROPPING DIMES. Rait-Riivo Laane has been one of the few bright spots in TTU’s play this season, as the 22-year-old guard leads the league in assists with an average of eight. He recorded his first double-double last week, as he swished and dished for 12 points and 11 rebounds in the team’s loss.
WEEKLY MVP. Andrew Warren put up another outstanding performance for Port of Parnu, recording 26 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, yet once again, his efforts were not enough and Parnu suffered a heartbreaking loss in Panevezys. The shooting guard currently leads the league in three vital categories: scoring, efficiency and steals per game.
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 qualify for the elimination stage in the continental competition.
To keep you up-to-date with situation of our clubs, BBL.net brings you the latest international updates in a weekly round-up.
The opening week wasn’t the best for Baltic clubs, with only two clubs starting their campaigns with wins. And one of them was predetermined, as last year’s BBL bronze-medal series participants TU/Rock and Juventus played against each other once again.
TU/Rock 81-72 Juventus
Although last year it was Juventus who got the better of the Estonian club, TU/Rock overcame a rough start to defeat the visitors from Lithuania 81-72 after scoring 30 points in the last period.
Tanel Kurbas double-doubled with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the Tartu side, as Gert Dorbek added 17 points. For the guests, Chavaughn Lewis had a team-high 17 points, while Arminas Urbutis and Egidijus Dimsa chipped in with 12 points apiece.
Ventspils 67-62 Helios Suns
After a very close game for three quarters, Ventspils turned up the intensity in the final period to come from behind and celebrate a 67-62 victory against Helios Suns at home in Latvia.
Alan Wiggins paced the winners with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, Kwamain Mitchell scored 13 points and added four assists, while Andrejs Grazulis finished the game with 12 points and six rebounds.
PGE Turow 90-80 Pieno Zvaigzdes
Despite starting the game strong, Pieno Zvaigzdes faded as the game went on before succumbing to an 80-90 loss against PGE Turow on the road in Poland. Heading into the final quarter, the Lithuanians led 69-62 but the hosts won the period by 17 points to snatch the win.
Andriy Agafonov had a team-high 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Lithuanian side, Giedrius Staniulis scored 14, while Jokubas Gintvainis added 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds but committed seven turnovers.
Slask Wroclaw 71-69 Siauliai
Having led for more than 37 minutes, there will be plenty of regrets for back-to-back champions Siauliai, as they allowed Slask Wroclaw to make a second-half comeback and ended up losing 69-71 on the road in Poland.
Paulius Dambrauskas led Siauliai in scoring with 17 points and five rebounds, Assem Marei added 15 points and 10 rebounds, with Dave Dudzinski contributing with 11 points.
TALLINN – Barsy finally managed to open up their win column, as they went on a tear in the second half crushing TTU and cruising to a 97-84 victory in the battle between two Group B bottom-feeders.
The home side was simply dominant during the first quarter. As they poured in basket after basket, the lead soon hit double-digits and the Estonians were ahead by 13. Nevertheless, a couple of three-pointers to close out the quarter helped chip down the deficit to just six.
By halftime, the score had already dwindled down to just two, yet TTU were still ahead. However, it all changed after the break, when Barsy managed to set up a 15-0 run.
It was already a double-digit game and the Kazakhs couldn’t get any closer – the margin kept swinging between 10 and 20, as the visitors went on to celebrate their first win.
Ryan Cook was the game’s highest scorer with 24 points, while Michael Burwell lit it up with 19. Mikhail Yevstigneev finished the game with yet another great scoring output of 16 points.
TTU captain Kiur Akenparg led the way with 20 points, while Kristjan Kitsing tallied 14. Corney Raley-Ross chipped in with 12, while Rait-Riivo Laane swished and dished for another 12 points and 11 assists.
RAPLA – In a game of ups and downs, AVIS Rapla emerged superior on the road in Riga against Barons/LDz 72-64 after building the winning advantage in the fourth quarter.
The Estonian team improved to a 2-1 mark, while their Group A rivals Barons/LDz suffered their second defeat in as many games.
The hosts led early in the game, but an impressive offensive outing in the second quarter saw AVIS Rapla take a 47-40 lead into the halftime break after winning the quarter 33-23.
However, led by Cliff Colimon, Barons/LDz raced back and erased the seven-point deficit to tie things up at 54-all before the final ten minutes of action.
In the end, it was AVIS Rapla who looked more convincing in the final stretch of the game, going on a 13-4 run to start the fourth quarter, basically deciding the outcome of the game.
Devin Brooks led the winners with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while William Artino and Michael Myers added 14 points and 10 boards apiece.
Colimon had a game-high 22 points, six rebounds and five assists for Barons/LDz. Derrick Roland chipped in with 14 points and four rebounds.
LIEPAJA – Liepaja/Triobet kept a clean record in the new season of Triobet BBL after taking a 74-69 victory against Jurmala/Fenikss in an all-Latvian Group B clash on the road in Jurmala on Wednesday night.
Having won all three games, Liepaja/Triobet lead the Group B standings, while their opponents dropped to a 1-2 mark.
It was Jurmala/Fenikss who started the game stronger, taking a four-point lead after the opening period. The hosts stayed in front throughout the second period and entered the halftime break up 39-36.
However, the visitors managed to turn things around after the interval, winning the third quarter 21-8 to turn a three-point deficit into a double-digit lead heading into the final frame.
Although Jurmala/Fenikss had cut the gap to four points at one point in the fourth quarter, Liepaja/Triobet did not tremble at the free throw line, sealing the win from the stripe.
Kristopher Richard led the winners with 15 points and six rebounds, while Zack Stephan contributed with a double-double of 13 points and 13 boards.
For Jurmala/Fenikss, the team’s captain Edgars Jeromanovs had a team-high 13 points and six assists, while Maris Ziedins added 12 points and five rebounds.
PANEVEZYS – Lietkabelis returned to winning ways in the Triobet BBL with an 85-83 victory against Port of Parnu in a Group A match-up at home in Lithuania on Wednesday evening.
The hosts improved to a 3-1 record, while the Parnu club remains winless after dropping to 0-2.
Despite getting off to a decent start, Lietkabelis couldn’t sustain their early lead and allowed Port of Parnu to get back into the game, finishing the first quarter up by only two points at 23-21.
The gap remained in the single digits in the second quarter as well, but Arnas Labuckas scored five points in a row to finish the half to allow the home side to gain a 48-40 edge.
Lietkabelis finally managed to break away in the third quarter and led by as many as 16 points, with the duo of Valdas Vasylius and Brandon Wood leading the way for the Lithuanian side.
However, Port of Parnu put together a massive 18-4 run to tie shift the scales in favor of the visitors, but a couple of baskets by Vasylius and Wood allowed Lietkabelis to regain the upper hand.
Andrew Warren, who finished the game as the top scorer with 26 points to his name, had the opportunity to win the game for the visitors with the last shot of the game, but the shot rimmed out.
For Lietkabelis, Vasylius had a team-high 23 points and seven rebounds, Wood collected 19, while Labuckas finished the game with 12 points.
VALMIERA – The home side Valmiera/ORDO had to work all the way to the very end to capture their third victory this season, as they defeated TLU Kalev 72-65.
Valmiera/ORDO now moved up to a 3-0 record, while TLU slipped to 0-2.
The Latvians had to struggle for every point early on, but flipped it over halfway through the first quarter, as they went on a 11-0 tear.
The good run continued and by halftime, the home side were ahead by 10 points. Nevertheless the safe lead was short-lived and the Estonians came running back to make it all even before the final quarter.
Everything was settled in the first half of the fourth period when Valmiera/ORDO raced off to a 9-0 run to set their lead in stone.
Aigars Skele had another good game for the victors, as he tallied 17 points and 6 boards. Haralds Karlis swished in 12, while Armands Skele ended the game with 10 points. Ervins Jonats was near a double-double with 9 points and 10 rebounds.
The starting line-up did the heavy lifting, as they scored all but seven points for TLU. Johnny Berhanemeskel and Zachary Atkinson lead the way with 15 and 14 points respectively, while the latter also tore down 15 rebounds. Thomas Droney chipped in with 11 points, while Reimo Tamm finished with 10 points.
RAKVERE – Barsy Atyrau suffered another heartbreaking loss, as they fell just short, 66-71 against Tarvas.
Tarvas now stand at 2-0, while Barsy dropped to 0-2.
The Kazakhs were stronger in the initial quarter and with strong play in the paint, found themselves up by eight. The margin widened in the second half, as Barsy jumped ahead by 11. Nevertheless, Tarvas were finally in the lead just a couple minutes later and entered halftime with a one-point lead.
It was Barsy now on the losing end, as it was now them facing a double-digit deficit. While it seemed that Tarvas had it all wrapped up, the Kazakhs were back within only one point with 30 seconds remaining.
Nevertheless, Barsy were more successful in the closing seconds and ended the game atop by three.
Roberts Stumbris led the starting unit with 19 points, while Mario Paiste chipped in with 18 points. David Haughton tallied 12 points, while Radomir Marojevic finished up with 10.
Mikhail Yevstigneev was the leading scorer with 16 points for Barsy, while Michael Burwell was the only other player in double-digits, as he scored 13.
The start of the 2015-16 Triobet BBL season has brought about exciting basketball across the Baltics, with four clubs going undefeated so far: Valmiera/ORDO, Vytautas, Liepaja/Triobet and Tarvas.
But how have our clubs fared in their domestic competitions? Let's take a closer look at Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian leagues and find out!
Just like in Triobet BBL action, Valmiera/ORDO are marching without defeats in the domestic championship as well. Having taken down defending champs VEF Riga in the season-opening game, the club from Valmiera has gone on to register four more victories and now lead the league with a clean 5-0 record.
Liepaja/Triobet has also had a good start of the season, with their only loss coming against the league-leaders Valmiera/ORDO. Currently in third place with a 5-1 mark, the Liepaja club already boasts a 69-66 upset over last year's runners-up BK Ventspils. Stephen Zack has been the main go-to guy for Liepaja/Triobet, averaging 14.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.
Meanwhile, the three others teams haven't been convincing. After losing the first three games of the season, Jekabpils has managed to to turn things around with two consecutive wins. However, Jurmala/Fenikss, now 2-4, and Barons/LDz, 1-5, remain near the bottom of the 11-team standings.
The return of coach Virginijus Seskus has sparked a true basketball revival in the Prienai, with Vytautas getting off to a sizzling start of the 2015-16 campaign. One of the early season Triobet BBL favourites and still undefeated in the competition, the Prienai-Birstonas club is in fine form in the domestic championship as well. Boasting an excellent 5-1 record, Vytautas share the second place in the league standings with Lietuvos Rytas.
Although Lietkabelis and Nevezis, both 2-4, aren’t in the top half of the table, there are definitely some positives to take away for both sides. It is true that the team from Panevezys has failed to live up to the expectations after putting together a very solid roster on paper, but the outstanding individual talent and squad depth was visible in stretches.
Many basketball experts were predicting doom and gloom for Nevezis before the season, but Ramunas Cvirka has built a coherent unit that has so far managed to surprise quite a few opponents in Lithuania. Thought of as the league outsiders, Nevezis has already registered two wins having triumphed against Dzukija and Siauliai.
The Estonian championship has not picked up full pace yet for the teams also participating in Triobet BBL, but it is so far TLU/Kalev, who are the highest-placed team with a 2-2 mark outside the big duo of Kalev/Cramo and TU/Rock.
However, since the competition is only in its early stages, it is really too soon to make any conclusions. Port of Parnu and AVIS Rapla, both with a 1-1 record, share the fourth spot, while Tarvas, 0-2, and TTU, 0-3, are yet to record their first win in the Estonian league.
The first weeks of the Triobet BBL action are already in the books so let’s take some time to round up the performances that happened so far with the first volume of the Triobet BBL Weekly Review!
UNBEATEN. Two weeks into the competition and only four teams have managed to keep clean record, going without losses so far. Having notched two easy wins against Estonian teams, Valmiera/ORDO are the only undefeated team in Group A, while Vytautas, Liepaja/Triobet and Tarvas share the honors in Group B. However, the Lithuanian and Latvian teams have two wins, while the Estonians have only had a chance to win one so far.
OPENING IN STYLE. In the 2015-16 Triobet BBL season opener, Valmiera/ORDO registered a 90-59 victory against the visiting AVIS Rapla. The 31-point win margin recorded by the Latvian team remains the biggest of the season. Davis Rozitis played a major role in the blowout, double-doubling with 24 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks.
SETTING THE BAR. Although the season is only two weeks old, Liepaja/Triobet’s shooting guard Kristopher Richard already set the bar quite high in terms of scoring. The 26-year-old American lit up Barsy Atyrau for 41 points on the way to a ranking of 45 to pace his Latvian team to an 86-79 overtime victory.
CHARITY. To mark the start of the league’s partnership with its new title sponsor Triobet, a charity game was held in Valmiera, with celebrities, high-ranking basketball officials, politicians, actors and journalists joining BBL and Triobet representatives in a friendly game. A total of €1,000 was donated to Valmiera’s SOS Children’s Village and Valmiera Region Community Foundation.
BROTHERS. The Skele brothers were reunited, as the 32-year-old Armands Skele joined his younger brother, 22-year-old Aigars in Valmiera/ORDO. The siblings, who will form the backcourt of the team, already played their first game of the season. Aigars Skele shone brighter than his older brother, scoring 16 points, grabbing four rebounds and dishing out four assists. Armands Skele scored four points and grabbed five rebounds in his Valmiera/ORDO debut in an 89-65 Port of Parnu.