TALLINN – Dominykas Milka was simply sensational in his debut for TLU Kalev, as the Estonian side came from behind in the fourth quarter to hand one of the Group A leaders Valmiera/ORDO an upset, triumphing 80-79 after a hard-fought battle down the stretch at the Kalev Spordihall on Tuesday evening.
The Lithuanian center put together an impressive performance off the bench, scoring 27 points and grabbing eight boards, as TLU Kalev improved to a 5-5 record, while Valmiera/ORDO dropped to 7-2.
The hosts began the game with an 8-0 run after catching the visitors from Valmiera unprepared, but a timeout by Gatis Melderis put things right, as Valmiera/ORDO responded with a nine unanswered points.
Nevertheless, TLU Kalev stayed in charge for most of the first half, taking a 42-40 lead into the halftime break. Valmiera/ORDO had seemingly managed to break the game in their favor in the second half, but it proved to be far from the end of things.
With two minutes remaining in the game, Arturs Berzins put the cherry on top of a 7-0 run by converting on a jumper to push Valmiera/ORDO’s advantage to 79-72.
However, Johnny Berhanemeskel responded with a quick bucket and excellent defensive pressure by TLU Kalev resulted in a handful of turnovers by the visitors, allowing Thomas Droney to score three baskets in a row in the final 80 seconds, giving the hosts the winning edge.
Berhanemeskel scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and came up with three steals, while Droney added 11 points.
For Valmiera/ORDO, Laksa and Berzins scored 14 points apiece, Janis Kaufmanis collected 13, while Ervins Jonats and Davis Rozitis finished the game with 12 points each.
With the first part of the 2015-16 Triobet BBL season in the books, let’s take a look at the best performances across the main statistical categories over the first three months of action in the league.
Can these records be broken in 2016? We will have to wait and see!
POINTS. Having scored 41 points against Barsy in one of the first games of the season, Liepaja/Triobet’s guard Khristopher Richard still holds the season-high in Triobet BBL. The 26-year-old American is currently fourth among all scorers in the league, averaging 17.4 points per game.
Former Port of Parnu leader Andrew Warren, who left for Kosovo during the winter break, came closest to Richard’s record, when he scored 40 points in an all-Estonian clash versus AVIS Rapla. However, even that was not enough for the Parnu side to achieve a victory.
REBOUNDS. At the top of the best performances in terms of rebounds, we also find a Liepaja/Triobet player. Zack Stephan set the season high by grabbing 18 rebounds in a double overtime loss to Vytautas in December. It is no coincidence that the 23-year-old center is leading the league in rebounds with 11.4 boards per game.
His American compatriot Malcolm Rhett from Barons/LDz had the second best performance in the league this season with 16 rebounds against one of the league outsiders Port of Parnu back in November.
ASSISTS. Despite holding three of the four top assist performances of the season so far, Rait-Riivo Laane is actually not at the season record-holder, as Port of Parnu veteran Silver Leppik registered a season-high 12 assists against Nevezis.
Right below, we have four excellent performances by the Triobet BBL assist leader Laane, who is the top man for dimes with 6.4 assists per game. He has dished out nine or more assists on three occasions, with his best performance coming against Barsy, when he had 11.
THREE-POINTERS. With a total of 30 makes from beyond the arc, Jurmala/Fenikss sharpshooter Edgars Jeromanovs leads the league in three-pointers made. Close behind is Johnny Berhanemeskel from TLU Kalev with 28 three-pointers.
Jason Calliste of Barons/LDz makes the most three-pointers per game with 3.2 successful long-range shots per game, with Berhanemeskel ranking second at 3.1 makes per game.
STEALS. The honors of the best performance in the steal category are co-shared by Port of Parnu teammates Andrew Warren and Silver Leppik, who both registered games with seven steals. Warren was the first to set the record in October, but a month later Leppik repeated his feat. Strangely enough, neither of them are in Triobet BBL Top 10 in steals.
BLOCKS. Mindaugas Kupsas from Nevezis recorded the most blocks in a single game with five rejections against Barons/LDz back in October. With an average of 1.4 blocks per game, the 215 cm giant from Lithuania shares the third place among top rim protectors in the league.
Jurmala/Fenikss forward Ivars Zvigurs and William Artino from AVIS Rapla have have both had games with four blocks to their name.
For the second month in a row, Triobet BBL monthly MVP honors went to a Lithuanian player, as Laimonas Kisielius snatched up the award for the month of December after leading the undefeated Vytautas to two more wins with stellar play across the board.
The October MVP award went to Paulius Petrilevicius from Port of Parnu last month.
In the two games he played in December, the 30-year-old forward averaged 20.5 points, 5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2 steals and was among the most efficient players in the league, making 69% and 53.8% of his shots from two-point range and from beyond the arc respectively.
His best performance came at home against TTU, when Kisielius scored 28 points grabbed five rebounds and came away with two steals, all whilst going 11-of-14 from the field.
Although two Port of Parnu players, Andrew Warren and Paulius Petrilevicius, had a better average efficiency ranking in December, the fact that Vytautas have a league-best 8-0 record became the deciding factor.
The award will be presented to Kisielius on December 7 in Prienai, when the Lithuanian club will try to keep its undefeated run going as they welcome Barsy Atyrau from Kazakhstan.
Four of the five Triobet BBL clubs successfully advanced to the Round of 32 in the inaugural edition of the FIBA Europe Cup, but the second stage of competition is proving to be much more challenging, with all four Baltic sides starting off on the wrong foot and suffering defeats.
Were the teams not to advance to the elimination rounds of the continental competition, they would join Triobet BBL from the Play-Offs. To keep you up-to-date with the situation of our clubs, BBL.net brings you the latest updates from Europe in a weekly round-up.
CEZ Nymburk 88-64 Ventspils
Ventspils was the most successful Baltic team in the regular season of the FIBA Europe Cup, winning all six games, but it did not help the Latvian club to start the Round of 32 with a win. The seasiders suffered a big 88-64 defeat in Group P at the hands of CEZ Nymburk in Czech Republic.
Kristaps Janicenoks collected a team-high 13 points, Kwamain Mitchell scored 12 points and dished out four assists, while Alan Wiggins collected 10 points and seven rebounds for Ventspils.
Elan Chalon 76-67 TU/Rock
Estonian champions TU/Rock couldn’t come away with a win to start the action in Group R, falling short 76-67 to Elan Chalon on the road in France. It was a very close game for the most part and the hosts only managed to run away with the lead midway through the final frame.
Karolis Petrukonis recorded a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds in a losing effort for TU/Rock, Janar Talts collected 14 points and dished out five assists, while Gert Dorbek finished the game with 11 points and six dimes.
STB Le Havre 98-84 Pieno Zvaigzdes
Pieno Zvaigzdes ended up on the wrong side of a high-scoring game in Le Havre, coming back to Lithuania having started their Group S campaign with a 98-84 loss to STB Le Havre. Former Zalgiris guard Willie Deane, who finished the game with 29 points, was a mystery Mantas Sernius and his side could not solve. The French side made 69% of their field goals, also going 11-of-18 from three-point range.
For Pieno Zvaigzdes, Ramone Moore had a team-high 19 points and five assists, Andriy Agafonov collected 14 points, while Lauris Blaus finished the night with 13 points and five rebounds.
Belfius Mons-Hainaut 77-57 Juventus
After falling behind by double digits early, Juventus had to concede defeat to Belfius Mons-Hainaut in Group T, losing the away game in Belgium 77-57. A bad start of the game got the Lithuanian side out of their rhythm, as they failed to put any pressure on the hosts and allowed them to cruise to an easy win.
Spencer Butterfield was one of the few bright spots for Juventus, as the American guard scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 35 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Egidijus Dimsa and Chavaughn Lewis chipped in with 11 points apiece.
RAKVERE – Liepaja/Triobet didn't have too many problems in Rakvere, as they raced off early to their seventh win in ten games with a solid 77-59 victory against Tarvas.
It wasn’t much of a contest from the early stages of the game and although the two clubs stood at nine apiece midway through the first quarter, Liepaja/Triobet then hurried off to a quick double-digit lead.
The sides were already separated by 13 points at halftime and it just got worse later on, as the Latvians soon pushed their lead to game-high 25 points. While Tarvas did trim the deficit down, it was all said and done, the final score had blow-out written all over it.
Toms Leimanis was solid with 14 points for Liepaja/Triobet, while Janis Antrops added 13 to the total. Arnolds Helmanis and Anthony Holliday chipped in with 10 and 9 points respectively.
Reinis Strupovics was the top-scorer for his team with 14 points, while Maksim Kovacevic was the only other significant performer on the offensive end, as he had 11 points.
JURMALA – It was a finish to the year they had been hoping for for Jurmala, as they beat down on visiting Jekabpils and took an 88-65 win in their last Triobet BBL game of 2015.
Jurmala came out with a bang in the opening quarter, as they seemed to be scoring effortlessly and piled up a 25-16 advantage. While the second quarter was much closer, the home side still had an eight point advantage at the break.
Just like in the first quarter, Jurmala/Fenikss had no trouble finding the basket after halftime. They struck a double-digit advantage and didn't look back, building it up to a cozy 18-point margin for the final quarter.
Jekabpils had no luck in trying to diminish their deficit and the visitors ultimately fell short by 23 points, their biggest loss of the Triobet BBL season so far.
Edgars Jeromanovs led the winning side with 18 points and 8 dimes, while Maris Ziedins added 14 points to the tally. Casey Roberts was also in double-digit scoring with 12 points to his name.
Despite his team's loss, Tyler Larson had another good game, as he tallied 18 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Arturs Duselis chipped in with 11 points, while Pavels Veselovs and Rinalds Sirsnins ended the game with 10 points each.
TALLINN – The all-Estonian clash in Tallinn between TLU Kalev and Port of Parnu was a nail-biter for everyone involved, but it was the hosts who prevailed, picking up a 72-66 victory in front of the home crowd at the Kalev Sports Hall.
TLU Kalev climbed to fourth spot in Group A standings after improving to a 4-5, while Port of Parnu, now 1-7, lost another close game and remain at the bottom of the ladder together in a tie with Barons/LDz.
The guests from Parnu began the game better and led by a couple of points throughout most of the opening quarter. However, after increasing the gap to 22-16 in the second period, allowed TLU Kalev to take control of the game, with the hosts finishing the half up 30-29.
The nip-and-tuck battle continued after the break as well and this time Port of Parnu found themselves by a single point before the final quarter, as Paulius Petrilevicius converted one of two from the stripe right before the end of the period.
After starting the final frame with four unanswered points, the visitors had upped their advantage to 53-48, but it all went downhill from there, with Johnny Berhanemeskel-led TLU Kalev coming from behind to take the win down the stretch.
Berhanemeskel finished the game with a team-high 23 points, Reimo Tamm scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with no other players scoring in double figures for TLU Kalev.
Meanwhile, Andrew Warren had another big performance for Port of Parnu, scoring 25 points, with Petrilevicius adding 14 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks in a losing effort.
VALMIERA – It was another easy stroll in the park for Valmiera/ORDO, who handled the visiting Nevezis with ease, taking a 75-62 victory at the Vidzeme Olympic Center on Tuesday evening in Group A action.
The win puts Valmiera/ORDO in second place in the group with a 7-1 record, while the Lithuanian side dropped to 3-6.
After a relatively even opening quarter, the hosts started pulling away in the second period. After a 7-0 run, Valmiera/ORDO had opened up a double digit gap already in the first half. Although Nevezis did scale it down to 38-31 by the time for the halftime interval, the hosts were very much in control of the game.
The margin continued its consistent growth after the break as well, with Valmiera/ORDO finishing the third quarter up 58-48 before sealing in the win in the fourth, with Nevezis not causing any troubles.
Martins Laksa was the top scorer for the winners with 17 points and five rebounds, Ervins Jonats collected 12 points and eight rebounds, while Haralds Karlis finished the game with 11 points and four steals.
Meanwhile, big man Mindaugas Kupsas had a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds for Nevezis. Taylor King was the only other player in double figures for the Lithuanian club with 11 points and eight rebounds.
TALLINN – One losing streak came to an end in Group B, while another just took a turn for the worse, as Liepaja/Triobet registered a 65-63 victory against the winless TTU on the road in the Estonian capital on Tuesday evening.
After starting the season with five victories in a row, the Latvian side had fallen short in its last three games in Triobet BBL. Now with a 6-3 record, Liepaja/Triobet are second in the group, while the 0-9 TTU are rock bottom.
It was the heavily favored visitors who got off to a quicker start, scoring the first five points of the game which proved to be the difference at the end of the opening quarter, with Liepaja/Triobet up 20-15.
Although the Liepaja/Triobet’s lead was slowly increasing quarter by quarter, TTU stuck close and kept the deficit in single figures until the end of the first half. Having started the third period up by six, the guests went on a 9-0 lead to increase the gap to 41-26.
However, TTU got the situation under control by the end of the quarter and started to scrape back into the game. The efforts brought results, with the Estonian club levelling the score at 56-all midway through the fourth quarter, forcing Uvis Helmanis to call a timeout.
Liepaja/Triobet players responded well to the pause in play, going on to score six unanswered and restore a slight advantage, which was enough to see TTU off.
For the visitors, Zack Stephan collected a team-best 17 points and nine rebounds, Juris Antrops scored 13 points, while Gints Antrops chipped in with nine points.
Kiur Akenparg had a game-high 21 points for TTU, with Corey Raley-Ross adding 13 points and five boards.
It was a slightly unusual week in Triobet BBL with action taking place not only on Tuesday and Wednesday this time around. With the second week of December already in the books, there are a lot fewer blanks to fill in the group stage. Let’s get down to it and look at the events and top performances in the league over the past seven days in the Triobet BBL Weekly Review!
GAME TO REMEMBER. Drama, double overtime and more drama. That was the story in the game between Liepaja/Triobet and Vytautas on Friday evening. Having won the first game by an astronomical 29-point margin, Vytautas found it much harder playing on the road and trailed for much of the meeting. In fact, with four minutes remaining Liepaja/Triobet were comfortably up 72-59, but a comeback, led by Gytis Sirutavicius, saw the visitors force overtime. As if one extra period wasn’t enough, Domantas Seskus brought the Lithuanian side back into the game once again at the end of the first five minutes of additional time with a crazy fade-away three-pointer. In the second overtime, Vytautas prevailed, taking a 107-102 win to keep the only undefeated record in the league.
TALKING ABOUT WINNING. Vytautas is the only undefeated team in the league and their 8-0 record is also the longest winning streak in the league. But who is next in this category? After two wins this week, Lietkabelis extended their good run to six games won on the trot, while AVIS Rapla and Jekabpils have won three straight and have successfully climbed the standings in Group A and B respectively after a sub-par start of the season. On the other end of the specter, we find TTU who at 0-8 are the only winless team in the competition.
TOUGH STRETCH. It wasn’t the easiest of schedules for Barons/LDz this week, as the side from Riga had to face both Group A leaders, Lietkabelis and Valmiera/ORDO, who have lost only two games combined all season long. As could have been predicted, Barons/LDz fell short in both of them, but they did make both of them interesting. After three quarters of close basketball, Valmiera/ORDO managed to pull away for an 87-75 victory on Wednesday, while Lietkabelis struggled all 40 minutes before coming out on top, 77-70, on Sunday. Barons/LDz have now lost four games in a row and share the last spot in the group with Port of Parnu. That is currently the second-longest losing streak in Triobet BBL.
INTERVIEW. Paulius Petrilevicius, the Triobet BBL MVP for the month of November, spoke with BBL.net 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. You can read the full interview HERE.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK. It could have been a night to remember for Andrew Warren, but it will likely be one he will want to forget. The undisputed Port of Parnu leader scored 40 points against AVIS Rapla, but the Parnu side crumbled in the fourth quarter and lost the lead they had managed to accumulate. AVIS Rapla won 78-75, but a 40-point night by Andrew Warren will go down as one of the most impressive performances of the season. It was the second-highest point total for a player this season after Kristopher Richard scored 41 for Liepaja/Triobet in one of the first games of the season.