Yet another BBL Final between Zalgiris and Lietuvos Rytas was expected to take place on Sunday until Latvian side VEF Riga has re-written BBL history by reaching the title game for the first time in club’s history.
It took seven years for a team other than Rytas or Zalgiris to qualify for BBL Final. VEF Riga became the first team to achieve that in league’s history.
Latvian, coached by former Lithuanian national team head coach Ramunas Butautas, started the semi-final game more actively as they finished the first quarter on top 24-20.
The second quarter was more defensive minded. VEF Riga was able to score more than their opponents increasing the lead to seven points at the half time.
Lietuvos Rytas is known for late comebacks but Lithuanian champions were only able to narrow the gap to four points before the final period.
Butautas’ team held on their lead despite efforts from Rytas to take control of the game. Players and staff on VEF Riga’s bench felt that history is about to be re-written as they couldn’t hide their happiness.
Lithuanians tried to change the course of the game by taking long range shots but they just weren’t falling in. Rytas players were dreadful from beyond the arc making just 3 out of 16 attempts compared to 8 out of 18 made by VEF Riga.
Belarusian Artsiom Parahouski led VEF Riga with 20 points as his team claimed an historical win 79-68 against Lietuvos Rytas. Aleksandar Trifunovic will face a tough task of motivating his players to give their best effort in a third place game.
Meanwhile VEF Riga will try to produce yet another sensation as they will take on Zalgiris tomorrow.