It has already been reported that the LIBL 2020/21 season will start on October 3, with the second strongest LIBL team of last season “Ogre” hosting the strongest – “VEF Rīga”, explaining the relationship in Liepāja Kurzeme derby to “Liepāja” and “Ventspils”, and in Riga in a duel with the University of Latvia meeting with Valmiera Glass VIA.
The course of the season may be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, the course of the tournament may differ from the one currently planned, however, the President of the Latvian Basketball Union (LBS) Raimonds Vējonis reminded that basketball was played even during the war.
“We will compete in LIBL for the third season. We did not close the previous one due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, both the clubs and the federations of the two participating countries agreed that the cooperation should continue,” said the president of LBS.
He noted that there was a growing interest in participating in the second Latvian league in force – the National Basketball League, regional leagues and the Douglas Baltic Basketball League for Women.
“We will play as long as we can and I am sure we will end the season,” Vējonis keeps optimism.
Director of Latvian basketball leagues For former Latvian national team long-term player Kristaps Janičenokas, this is his debut season as the director of Latvian basketball leagues.
“We hope that we will be able to spend a full season,” agrees Janishenok with the president of LBS. “In the summer, we decided to play the first games only among Latvian clubs. This has turned out to be the right decision. As with other games, time will tell.”
He reassured fans, who will not always be able to attend games during the coronavirus control measures, that all matches will be shown live on “Best4Sport” and “YouTube” channels.
It is quite certain that already on Saturday there will be a game in which there will be more applicants than lucky ticket holders, because the two strongest leagues of the last season will meet in Ogre at the time of the competition.
Janičenoks added that on December 9, the calendar envisages the start of games with Estonian clubs. “Let’s be guided by the situation in Covid-19 in the country,” explains the director of the Latvian basketball league. “There is a plan B and possibly also a plan C. Plan B envisages taking two or more more circles between Latvian clubs if the virus does not allow them to cross the Estonian border.”
Asked about the goals of the season, “VEF Rīga” coach Jānis Gailītis said that the goal is the title of Latvian champion and entry into the LIBL “play-off” games.
“Ogre” coach Nikolajs Mazurs mentioned that he will fight for the highest goals. “We have six teams. Everyone will want to fight for high places. We are one step ahead of ourselves this year compared to last year,” the coach noted.
“Ventspils” coach Gints Fogels expressed the club’s wishes as entering the Latvian Cup final, a medal in the Latvian championship and entering the “play-off” LIBL tournament.
“Valmiera Glass” / “Vidzeme University College” coach Roberts Zeile would like to fight for “play-off” in LIBL competitions and for medals – in Latvian championship.
“University of Latvia” coach Guntis Endzels emphasized the desire to enter the LIBL playoffs.
Krists Pīternieks, the representative of “Liepāja” and the assistant of coach Arturs Visocks-Rubens, considers “the main task of the season to be” to create a positive environment to talk about Liepāja as a place where you can develop in basketball “. He added that “in silence, everyone already has the highest goals, because without them there is no point in fighting”.
In turn, to ask the representatives of the team players to raise their hands to those who will win on Saturday, all six raised their hands, but the first – “Ogre” player Kristaps Dārgais.
For the third season, LIBL supports Pafbet, but Ramirent has been cooperating with LBS for the seventh season.
From October 3 to December 5, 30 games between Latvian teams are planned. Meanwhile, seven Estonian teams will also play their mini-tournaments.
In the main tournament of the third season of LIBL, 13 teams are planned to play a two-round tournament, after which there will be playoffs – a quarter-final series and a “Final Four” tournament.
13 teams – six Latvian units – “VEF Rīga”, “Ogre”, “Ventspils”, “Valmiera Glass” / “Vidzeme University College”, “University of Latvia” and “Liepāja” will participate in the LIBL championship in the 2020/21 season, as also seven Estonian teams – Tallinn “Kalev” / “Cramo”, Rapla “Avis Utilitas”, “Parnu Sadam”, “University of Tartu”, Rakvere “Tarvas”, Tallinn “Kalev” / TLU and “TalTech”.
In the first Latvian-Estonian joint league tournament in the 2018/2019 season, Ventspils won 15 teams in both the main tournament and the Final 4, but the 2019/2020 season remained unfinished, ranking first in the main tournament, which was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. occupying “VEF Rīga”, the second – “Ogre”, the third – “Kalev” / “Cramo” led by Robert Štelmaher and the fourth – “Ventspils”.
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