PANEVEZYS – After forty minutes of hard-nosed basketball, Lietkabelis managed to go out on top 78-71 against Nevezis in the first Lithuanian derby of the season.
The two Lithuanian sides traded basket for basket in the early stages of the game and neither side could grasp a tangible lead, with a 13-11 lead for the home side.
After a low-scoring first quarter, Lietkabelis managed to pick up the pace and slowly build a double-digit lead. The visitors cut it down to six and now faced only a 32-38 deficit midway through the game.
Nevezis were on point in the third quarter and an 11-2 run allowed them to finally sneak ahead. The game was truly a nail-biter in the making, as only two points separated the teams before the final quarter.
The visitors didn't have as much luck in the final quarter, as they crumbled in the five final minutes. Lietkabelis enjoyed a double-digit lead with two minutes on the clock and safely coasted to the finish line.
Arnas Labuckas was the top-scorer for the home side with 17 points in his tab, while Brandon Wood contributed 16 to the win. Arturas Valeika was also in double digits with 10 point and 6 rebounds. Jermaine Love, who also dished out 6 assists, and Lukas Aukstikalnis ended the game with 8 apiece.
Taylor King led the way for Nevezis with 18 points in just 20 minutes of game time, while Darius Gvezdauskas chipped in with 13. Grant Johnson ended up with 11 points, while Saah Nimley scored 9 in his team's loss.
JEKABPILS – Vytautas showed Jekabpils no mercy in their first game of the season, coasting to an 85-67 victory in the Group B matchup on Wednesday evening.
Vytautas jumped off to an incredible start and a 17-2 stretch had them up by 15 merely six minutes into the game. The score dwindled down before the quarter ended and Jekabpils were back in single-digit range.
While the visitors had trouble finding the basket early on in the second quarter, their stifling defense helped them stay in charge. The shots finally started falling and Vytautas galloped to a 48-32 lead before the halftime break.
It seemed to just get worse for the home team after the half-time break, as the margin soared to the mid-thirties. With a 22 point lead after three quarters, it was apparent that the final quarter would be merely a formality.
The whole starting unit was in double digits for Vytautas, as Vaidas Cepukaitis led the way with 21 points and 8 rebounds. Gytis Sirutavicius added 13 points to the tally, while Laimonas Kisielius and Sarunas Vasiliauskas chipped in with 12 apiece. Vytas Sulskis ended the game with 11 points and 8 boards.
For the losing side, it was Sandis Silavs leading the way, as he scored 14 points. Tyler Larson was good for 12 points and 6 rebounds, while Janis Poznaks finished the outing with 8 points.
LIEPAJA – Liepaja/Triobet got off to a strong in the 2015-16 Triobet Baltic Basketball League season, downing TTU 90-68 in the first day of the new season at home in the Liepaja Olympic Center on Tuesday evening.
Although the first quarter was relatively close for the most part, Liepaja/Triobet jumped in front with a 7-0 run to finish the opening quarter. The Estonians responded with a run of their own to start the second period, edging in front 28-27.
After a close first half, Liepaja/Triobet broke the game wide open by torching the visitors at the start of the third period. Having scored the first 10 points of the second half, the home side gaiend a 50-37 lead and never looked back.
The fourth quarter was merely a formality, with Liepaja/Triobetš duet of Kristopher Richard and Gints Antrops doing most of the work on the offensive end.
Richard collected 19 points, Antrops scored 18 while Toms Leimanis added 14 points and five assists in a winning effort.
For TTU, Kristjan Kitsing had a team-high 18 points and six rebounds. Kiur Akenparg also added 18, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the horrendous shooting night for the Estonian team.
VALMIERA – Valmiera/ORDO started the new Triobet Baltic Basketball League campaign in convincing fashion, taking care of AVIS Rapla 90-59 in the season-opening game.
The hosts held the initiative from the very get-go, establishing a double-digit lead already in the opening quarter, finishing it with a 26-14 advantage.
Valmiera/ORDO continued their dominant performance in the second period, going on a further 8-0 run to increase the gap to 20 points with just over five minutes remaining in the first half.
Trailing by 42-26 at the half, AVIS Rapla failed to make any game-changing adjustments that would alter the flow of events at the Vidzeme Olympic Center.
Davis Rozitis, who already had 22 points midway through the third period, was unstoppable in the post, with Valmiera/ORDO guards feeding the giant in the post with lob passes at every possible opportunity.
However, there wasn't much work for Rozitis in the fourth quarter as, Valmiera, leading 66-43 before the final frame, had wrapped up the win well ahead of the final whistle.
Rozitis finished the game with a game-high 24 points and 15 rebounds for the winners, Martins Laksa scored 12 points, while Janis Kaufmanis and Ervins Jonats chipped in with 10 apiece.
For AVIS Rapla, William Artino had 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists, with Devin Brooks adding 13 points and six rebounds.
VALMIERA – Baltic Basketball League signed a long-term partnership agreement with Triobet, who will be the league's title sponsor for the upcoming three seasons.
According to the arrangement, from this season on, the league will be named Triobet Baltic Basketball League.
”This co-operation agreement is essential to ensure that the competition runs smoothly this season and allows us to look ahead into the future in terms of providing a high level of organisation and continuing the development of basketball in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. We are pleased that Triobet values the work we do and has expressed this with a long-term partnership," said the Director of BBL Romualdas Brazauskas.
"Triobet is one of the biggest local betting providers in the Baltic States with the widest selection of sportsbook odds for the domestic leagues of these countries. Therefore, we seek to actively engage with sports in a variety of ways. In its own right, the Baltic Basketball League is one of the most prominent examples of both contributing to the development of professional basketball in the region and providing the stage for the best Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian sportsmen. With interest, we will be following the performances of teams closely and will have a special Triobet prize at the end of the competition. Furthermore, throughout the season, we will provide fans with many surprises, because every game should not only be a battle between two sides, but also a festive event for the spectators," said Ilze Jansone, the Managing Director of Triobet.
The Regular Season of the 2015-16 Triobet BBL campaign will feature 14 teams, which will be divided into two groups of seven teams. Group A will feature Barons/LDz, Valmiera/ORDO, Lietkabelis, Nevezis, AVIS Rapla, Port of Parnu and TLU Kalev. Group B will be comprised of Liepaja/Triobet, Barsy, Jekabpils, Jurmala/Fenikss, Tarvas, TTU and Vytautas.
In addition, five Baltic teams competing in the FIBA Europe League — Siauliai, Ventspils, Juventus, TU/Rock and Pieno Zvaigzdes — could join Triobet BBL from the Eight-Finals if they do not reach the Play-Offs in the continental competition.
Triobet was founded in 2006 and is one of the leaders in games and entertainment with the widest selection of sportsbook odds and great returns. The company has considerable experience in collaboration with various sports organizations.
Triobet is licensed in Malta and Estonia and has offices in both countries. Its parent company, Betsson AB, is one of the largest independent remote gaming operators in the region, with a history of over 50 years, and is listed on the Swedish stock exchange.
VALMIERA – Heading into its twelfth season, the Baltic Basketball League will announce its new title sponsor before the season-opening game between Valmiera/ORDO and AVIS Rapla at the Vidzeme Olympic Center on Tuesday.
Although the game itself is set to tip off in the evening, fans are invited to show up early as the day’s events will commence much earlier.
To mark the start of the new partnership, a charity game will be played between the title sponsor’s team, featuring famous personalities, and a united team of BBL staff and journalists. A donation of €1,000 will be awarded to a charity, chosen by the winning side.
Following the friendly game, the new title sponsor of the league will be officially presented to the media in a press conference, which will finish with both sides signing the partnership agreement.
The game between Valmiera/ORDO and AVIS Rapla will feature plenty of in-game entertainment, including cheerleaders and a special game for during the halftime break.
Like most BBL games played in Latvia this season, the season-opening duel will be shown live on SportaCentrs.com.
BBL season-opening schedule (Tuesday, October 13):
- 16:00 Title Sponsor vs BBL charity game
- 17:30 Press conference to announce new BBL title sponsor
- 18:30 Valmiera/ORDO vs AVIS Rapla
The regulations for the 2015-16 Baltic Basketball League campaign were confirmed in a Board meeting held in Riga on September 6. The upcoming BBL Regular Season, set to start on October 13, will feature 14 teams from four different countries, with five more clubs potentially joining from the BBL Play-Offs.
The five Baltic teams — Siauliai, Ventspils, Juventus, Tartu Rock, Pieno Zvaigzdes — that will play in the new FIBA Europe competition will join starting from the BBL Eight-Final round if they do not qualify for the FIBA Europe Play-Offs.
The remaining 14 teams will be divided into two groups of seven teams and will play in a round robin format, which will see each team faces their group opponents twice – home and away.
The Kazakhstan team Barsy Atyrau will play only a few games at home, with the remaining matches played away during the BBL Regular Season.
Eleven teams (teams placed 1st – 5th in each group and the best 6th placed team) will qualify for the BBL Eight-Finals. The remaining teams with the highest ranking after the BBL Regular Season will have the chance to participate in the Play-Offs, if less than five teams from FIBA Europe competition participate in the BBL Eight-Finals.
In determining Play-Off pairs, last season’s ranking will apply to the teams participating in the FIBA Europe competition. As champions, Siauliai will get the lowest-ranked opponent, Ventspils, Juventus, Rock and Pieno Zvaigzdes will be second, third, fourth and fifth on the list respectively.
In all Play-Off stages, the competition will be conducted in a two-game home and away format, with the team with the best aggregate score advancing to the next round.
The final standings will be determined in BBL Finals and BBL bronze-medal series, also in the same format.
More than 80 games of the 2015-16 BBL season will be shown live online at DELFI TV and SportaCentrs.com, with the best BBL Play-Off games also broadcasted by Viasat Sport Baltic.
UTENA – The last award of the season was handed out in Utena, where Juventus overcame a big disadvantage to triumph to fall just short in the bronze final with a 62-51 (14-18; 14-6; 18-10; 16-18) victory over Tartu Rock.
The Estonians had won the first game at home 72-63 after a big comeback and Juventus needed a double-digit advantage today to make sure the trophy stayed in Utena.
Tartu Rock opened the game with a couple of easy baskets to establish a six point lead. While the margin kept swinging high and low, it was apparent that Tartu was the more organized side in the first quarter. While the margin was only four points, the 13-point aggregate deficit looked menacing.
The small break didn’t seem to help Juventus much, as the offense remained stagnant. Luckily, their opponents didn’t have much firepower on the offensive end either; and after 3 minutes it was a 20-16 lead for Tartu. However, the tables quickly turned and by the end of the half, the home team was only down by 5 on the combined score-sheet.
Juventus opened the quarter with a series of successful plays on both ends of the court and were suddenly up by double-digits. Tartu ended up being on the outside looking in on the combined score-sheet after three quarters, as they faced a combined three-point deficit entering the final ten minutes.
It was a neck-to-neck fourth quarter, as the two sides traded bucket for bucket, the margin balancing between 8 and 10 points. With 30 seconds to go, Rashaun Broadus couldn't convert on the and-one and Tartu Rock answered back, jumping ahead by one with a mid-range jumper.
The home team managed to convert a tough shot and Tartu had 11 seconds to answer back. However, their last attempt went just wide.
SIAULIAI – The season finally reached its culmination in Siauliai, where the winners of the past two championships faced off for the 2014-2015 Champion’s trophy. Since Ventspils had won the first game by two points, Siauliai’s 88-80 (18-17; 14-21; 29-19; 13-15; 14-8) victory was just barely enough.
The game was opened with two easy baskets from both of the finalists, followed by a couple of improbable dunks. The tug of war continued throughout the remaining minutes and it was the home side ahead 18-17 after the first frame.
The Latvians managed to create some breathing room in the initial part of the second period, as they pushed ahead by five. Considering their two-point first game disadvantage, Siauliai were already facing a 7-point deficit. Just as soon as the home team spiked back, Ventspils once again set up a three-possession advantage.
The home side kept turning the ball over at the beginning of the second half and it resulted in Ventspils’ first double-digit lead. And just as the game seemed to be getting out of hand, Siauliai pinned the visitors down with a 13-2 run that ignited the crowd and brought back the tension into the game.
As we entered the final stage, it was already Siauliai with the aggregate lead. The home side, led by Rokas Giedraitis, continued their long-range supremacy and finally reached a palpable, seven-point lead. Nevertheless, nothing was yet written in stone and Ventspils had a couple more minutes to erase the small deficit.
That's exactly what they did and with a minute remaining, was all tied up on aggregate score. It all dragged down to the last possession, where Siauliai missed the chance to finish it all in 40 minutes.
The Lithuanians opened the overtime powerfully, dominating both offensively and defensively and pushed the advantage to 82-74 with three minutes on the clock. Ventspils made a run back, but Rokas Giedraitis put the final nail in the coffin with another three-point bomb.
Gintaras Leonavicius was chosen the finals series' MVP, as he led the team to their first trophy.
VENTSPILS – The first game of the Baltic Basketball League finals proved to be just as exciting, as could be expected, with a nail-biting finish to top it off. Ventspils had the home-court advantage and only managed to take two points out of it, winning 70-68 (19-17; 15-15; 16-17; 20-19) against defending champions Siauliai.
The Lithuanians got off to a quick start, as they scored the first six point of the game. Nevertheless, it was all answered back shortly and the two sides continued trading bucket after bucket. Ventspils closed out the first frame with two successful possessions and jumped ahead by two points.
Despite a monstrous posterizing dunk by Modestas Kumpys in the early stages of the second quarter, nothing much after the first ten minutes. The two teams held each other by the neck and didn’t allow even the slightest of breathing space. As the minimal lead swung back and forth, Ventspils stayed on top by the same two points before halftime.
The Latvians got a couple of consecutive plays to go their way and managed to build a game-high 6-point lead, which all evaporated right before the final period, mostly due to Siauliai’s hustle plays and second-chance points.
Siauliai seemed to be the side in control of the pace in the last quarter, as Karolis Babkauskas opened it up with a trey, but even that didn’t help them create any sort of advantage. The nerves seemed to be kicking in and the final minutes were nail-biting to say the least. The crowd went wild when Ventspils finally managed to jump ahead, but their enthusiasm was cut short by Julius Jucikas’ slam dunk.
The score was all tied up at 68 with just 45 seconds to go and Harvey Grant pushed the advantage to the Latvian team’s favor. Siauliai had the perfect opportunity to even the score but just couldn’t convert on either of their two last-seconds shots.
Harvey Jeray Grant was the leading scorer and rebounder for Ventspils, as he tallied respectively 14 and 9. Kristaps Janicenoks was solid with 11 points to his name, while Akselis Vairogs and Maris Gulbis chipped in with 9 apiece.
Julius Jucikas and Gintaras Leonavicius led Siauliai with 14 points each, while Vytautas Sulskis was just a point short of a double-double. The team's captain scored 9 points and added 10 rebounds.