Team Panevėžys “Lietkabelis” will end the difficult week with a match in the Lithuanian Basketball League (“Betsafe-LKL”) at home with Kaunas “Žalgiris”.
On Sunday, at the Cido Arena, Panevėžys will host opponents defending the tournament-winning title, coached by Kazys Maksvytis, who spent two years at Lietkabelis.
Tijus youth fans introduced the players to the Lietkabelis team, and during the big break, students at Juozas Balčikonis Gymnasium will test their skills on the parquet floor of Cido Arena. This is the fourth time that special attention has been paid to another educational institution for the Lietkabelis match.
Before the match with Žalgiris, the website kklietkabelis.lt spoke to the defender. Christopher In Samoyiti. The player said about the unsuccessful encounter on Friday, the rivals in the quarterfinals, K. Maksvytis and the performance of the European Cup.
– Was it harder to play physically or psychologically on Friday in front of the Pasvalys team?
– I personally felt very well. I wanted to win, although the game didn’t work out, but I had to prepare for the playoffs and start with a better attitude. We need to put a hat on the Pasvalys team that is really good at playing. On Friday, they looked good, did a good job and deserved to win.
– How many of your teammates felt that there was a lack of freshness?
– You saw it for sure. Gagičius seemed tired of his body language, Radičevičius was still playing with his problems. Of course, we did not have two players defending the best of the perimeter, Lipkevičius and Dovydas Giedraitis. Maybe they’d be better off with Johnson, Culpepper, and Berucha. We can’t miss 30 points in the half and we have a 17 point deficit after two halves. We always tried to return to the game, but it was too late because the opponents felt the rhythm of the game.
– How many defeats for the Milk Stars have occurred?
– We must hope that this will not be the beginning of some bad sections, because we lost against Virtus, then against Pasvalys. You don’t have to lose confidence in your own strength as important part of the approaching season where you need to show your best game. His ambitions were a bit overwhelmed, but he didn’t have time to be sad, because he will have to play against Žalgiris on Sunday. You need to improve your lifestyle and gradually catch up.
– It is likely that in the quarterfinals you will have to play against Šiauliai or Juventus. Is there a big difference between these opponents?
– No big difference. We won both teams 3 times this season, but we had a lot of problems against both opponents. We beat Šiauliai twice behind us, we won against Juventus only after the extra. The teams tied and played against each other a few days ago, where everything was decided in the final seconds. Both are very good teams.
– How does Sunday’s rival “Žalgiris” look like now, when K. Maksvytis took the lead?
– Like everyone else, it’s too early to tell. I have no doubt that Žalgiris has made a good step, yet the Lithuanian headquarters, and Maksvytis is a rising coach. Glad for her, because she really deserves this chance. The game of “Žalgiris” should be improved, and we will see the main picture next season. Kazys is a coach for the players, so they should be satisfied and feel good.
– You observed working together K. Maksvytis and Lietkabelis from the outside. How do you remember that?
– I remember being a player coach who promoted basketball more freely with shorter combinations, many two-on-two games. Panevėžys got up at the time, did a fantastic job in Klaipėda. I haven’t heard from any of the players that they didn’t like playing with Kaz because it gives everyone a chance, everyone feels well psychologically. I think it is superinis coach and is very happy that the Lithuanian is coaching “Žalgiris” again.
– The match does not affect the tournament table, but can you lack motivation while playing against Žalgiris?
– Can’t talk about a lack of motivation, because “Žalgiris” is a team in the Euroleague. I personally come from Kaunas, so I really want to play well. I think of others as well. It doesn’t matter in tournament terms, but we need to improve the game against the playoffs.
– When you played in Dzūkija yourself, was there a greater desire to win against the European Cup team Lietkabelis?
– Yes, this desire was really. You see this team competing in the European Cup, you want to play there too, maybe you want to be in this team. Even the “Rytas” is also a team in the Champions League. Not to mention Žalgiris. Want to test your strength, see what their physique looks like. You want to reach that level yourself, so it’s a great way to see how you’re doing. There was definitely an extra impulse.
– You had your first season in the European Cup. How do you rate it?
– I would write 8 points. We would reach the quarterfinals – I would write 9, and if I reached the semifinals – 10 points. The goal was to reach the next stage, but everyone hoped to beat just a few teams and take 8th place. It all turned out that we were in one throw or rebound from 3rd or 4th place. In this case, the whole tile should be arranged differently and we would play at home against the Budučnost team, which is a better competitor. For me, the experience was invaluable when it came to playing against players like Hackett. I am very happy because I have experienced playing 19 matches in the European Cup. We’ll see how things go next, and we’ll play in this tournament again next season.
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