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.
Yet another action-packed week has flown by, with some thrilling matches, including Barons/LDz’s first victory, being played. Let’s take a look at the greatest performances of the week in the fifth volume of the Triobet BBL Weekly Review!
JUST AS THEY WERE. Two teams continue their successful Triobet BBL campaigns with a perfect record of 5-0 in Group B. However, the streak is about to end for either Vytautas or Liepaja/Triobet, as the two undefeated clubs face off on Wednesday. Meanwhile, TTU and Port of Parnu have yet to secure their first victory and sit at the very bottom of their groups.
ADVANTAGE. Home-court advantage proves to be a major factor in the Triobet BBL week in, week out. All six matches were won by the home side this week, thus improving the combined home record to 23-13.
DOMINANCE. A new season rebounding record was set in Riga, where Barons/LDz’s Malcolm Rhett tore down season-high 16 rebounds against Port of Parnu in the team’s first victory of the season.
FIBA EUROPE CUP. All in all, it was a solid week in the European front for the Triobet BBL clubs, as three of four match-ups went to the Baltic clubs. Ventspils and Pieno Zvaigzdes captured victories in their respective groups, while Juventus defeated TU/Rock. The back-to-back champions Siauliai, however, were unsuccessful against Slask Wroclaw.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK. Edgars Jeromanovs had a terrific game against Tarvas, as he willed his team to a victory with a 30-point performance for Jurmala/Fenikss. The guard had no trouble pulling the trigger from beyond the arc and converted on six-of-eleven shots. While his scoring from closer range wasn’t as efficient, Edgars also added 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals to fill out the boxscore and push the total ranking to 28.
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.
Helios Suns 72-81 Ventspils
It was another victorious week for Ventspils in Europe, as the Latvian side moved to a 4-0 record in Group I after overcoming Helios Suns 81-72 on the road in Slovenia. Maris Gulbis was the top scorer for the winners with 16 points, Artis Ate finished the game with 12 points and four assists, as Damier Pitts had 11 points.
Pieno Zvaigzdes 74-71 PGE Turow Zgorzelec
After starting the season with two losses, Pieno Zvaigzdes got another win in Group I after taking care of business 74-71 against the visiting PGE Turow Zgorzelec in Pasvalys. Zygimantas Skucas spearheaded the Lithuanian team’s late comeback with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, Laurynas Samenas collected 14 points, while Andriy Agafonov scored 11.
Juventus 66-60 TU/Rock
Juventus put together a big fourth-quarter run to nip TU/Rock, taking a 66-60 home victory in all-Baltic clash in Group L. After four rounds, both teams share an identical 2-2 record, with TU/Rock holding the tie-breaker, having won the first game in Tartu by nine points.
Spencer Butterfield was on fire for the Lithuanian side with 23 points and six rebounds, Rolandas Alijevas collected 14 points, while Edgaras Zelionis added 12 points and six boards for Juventus. Meanwhile, Gert Dorbek had a team-high 18 points for TU/Rock, as Brian Harper and Evaldas Zabas collected 12 and 11 points respectively.
Siauliai 80-97 Slask Wroclaw
After earning two solid wins in a row, Siauliai could not keep the run going this week. Slask Wroclaw side from Poland proved to be superior, as they came away with a 97-80 in Group M action. The loss puts Siauliai in a difficult position, but wins in the remaining games would still seem them progress.
Michael Scott led the hosts in scoring with 15 points, Gintaras Leonavicius added 12 points, while Karolis Guscikas was close to a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds to his name.
PANEVEZYS – A spirited team effort by Lietkabelis was what it took to hand Valmiera/ORDO its first defeat of the season in Triobet BBL, as the Lithuanian side triumphed 73-65 in a game between Group A leaders.
The win allowed Lietkabelis to climb to the top of the group after improving to a 5-1 record, while Valmiera/ORDO dropped to a 4-1 mark.
The hosts started the game with an unorthodox line-up and with Mile Ilic taking the place of Arturas Valeika and the decision by Gintaras Kadziulis brought results early, with Lietkabelis taking control of the game.
Although Valmiera/ORDO evened things up at 18-18 after a slow start, the Lithuanians broke away once again to take a 44-30 advantage into the halftime break after winning the second period by 14 points.
Switching to zone defense worked wonders for the Valmiera club, with the deficit melting to four points at one stage in the third period, but a great stretch by Ilic allowed Lietkabelis to restore a double-digit lead.
Mile Ilic had his best game of the season, scoring 19 points and grabbing six boards, Brandon Wood collected 15 points and five assists, while the versatile big man Arturas Valeika chipped in with 11 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
For Valmiera/ORDO, Aigars Skele had a team-high 17 points, five rebounds and five assists, his brother Armands Skele scored 13 points and grabbed eight boards, with Arturs Berzins adding 10 points in a foul-plagued 17 minutes of action.
LIEPAJA – A tough battle between Liepaja/Triobet and Tarvas was in store today, as the Latvian club managed to stay perfect with a 79-73 victory at home.
Liepaja earned a two-possesion lead in the opening quarter, as they led 20-15. The lead, however, did not stand for long, as the Estonians raced back and jumped ahead just before halftime.
The lead turned back to Liepaja‘s favor in the third quarter, as a good run allowed them to amass an 8-point margin. Tarvas managed to cut down on the deficit in the last minutes of the quarter and continued pushing ahead in the final minutes.
The visitors got as close as a single point but any efforts to take control of the lead were rebuffed by the Liepaja side.
Gints Antrops knocked in the final nail to the coffin with a three-pointer with 40 seconds remaining to push the lead to four. Tarvas couldn‘t answer back and all that was left was fouling to stop the clock. Zack Stephan converted on the free-throws and cemented the narrow victory.
Arnolds Helmanis was the top scorer for Liepaja/Triobet with 20 points to his name. Kristopher Richard stuffed the stat-sheet with 19 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals, while Zack Stephan recorded a double double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Radomir Marojevic had 17 points in his tally, while Reinis Strupovics added 11. Nemanja Maric was not too far off from a triple-double with 9 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.
PRIENAI – In a high-scoring game, Vytautas had no problems taking care of business against Barsy, as the Prienai-Birstonas club registered a 93-69 victory against the Kazakh side in a Group B game on Wednesday.
It was the fifth victory in as many games for Vytautas in Triobet BBL, while Barsy dropped to a 2-3 record.
It was all about offense right from the tip-off, with both sides putting up big numbers in the opening quarter, after which the hosts found themselves up 29-23.
Having increased the gap to double-digits before the interval, Vytautas started the second half with a 56-44 advantage, with Laimonas Kisielius dropping 16 points in the first two periods.
The story of the game remained unchanged in the second part of the game and Vytautas sailed home with the win, after increasing their advantage to 74-58 in the third period.
Kisielius finished the game with 18 points and five assists, Sarunas Vasiliauskas added 13 points and four assists, while Vaidas Cepukaitis scored 13 points and grabbed seven boards.
At the same time, Lithuanian veteran and three-time Baltic champion Dainius Salenga made his return to Prienai, where he last played in 2013. The 38-year-old forward scored 9 points and dished out four assists in 21 minutes of action.
Meanwhile, Michael Burwell was the leading scorer for Barsy with 16 points and Ryan Cook added 14 points, four rebounds and six assists.