BC Lietkabelis (Lithuanian: Krepšinio klubas Lietkabelis) is a Lithuanian professional basketball team based in Panevėžys, Lithuania, participating in the Lithuanian Basketball League and the Baltic Basketball League. BC Techasas had many financial problems at the 2011–2012 season's start, and they even boycotted an LKF Cup game. Because of that Darius Gaudiešius sold the basketball club to Algirdas Kriščiūnas, Antanas Kazys Liorentas and Kazimieras Antanynas. Due to the club owner changes, club got back the legendary name Lietkabelis.
|Leagues||Lithuanian Basketball League|
|Team colors||Burgundy, white, pale gold|
|Head coach||Nenad Čanak|
The history of basketball club Lietkabelis began in 1964. The club's name did not change for 32 consecutive years. The home-court games were played in Aukštaitija Sports Palace, which was opened in 1965. The construction of the palace was initiated by V. Variakojis. Most of the team's players contributed with their own hands to the palace's construction process. At that time, the team was represented by such sports masters, such as S. Atraškevičius, J. Balakauskas, A. Butkūnas, V. Juchnevičius, E. Kuodys, A. Matačiūnas, R. Petrauskas, R. Sargūnas, V. Stalilionis, J. Zičkus, E. Žurauskas, V. Variakojis and others. Until the establishment of the Lithuanian Basketball League in 1993, Lietkabelis was among the country's strongest basketball teams. During these times, Panevėžys club, trained by R. Sargūnas and V. Paškauskas from 1964 to 1996, became Lithuania's champions twice (1985, 1988), won third place three times (1983, 1984 and 1991) and qualified into the Lithuania's Cup competition finals two times (1985, 1986). Other performances are as follows: 1964, 1965, 1968 and 1989 – 5th places, 1966 and 1969 – 6th places, 1970, 1971, 1980, 1986 and 1993 – 7th places, 1973 and 1977 – 11-12 places, 1975 – 11th place, 1976 – 9-10 places, 1979 – 9th place, 1981 – 8th place and 1982, 1987, 1990, 1992 – 4th places.
1978–1986: playing in USSR Division IEdit
From 1978 to 1986, Lietkabelis represented Lithuania in USSR I division tournament (second-tier competition in the Soviet Union). In more than three decades, many notable basketball persons played for the Panevėžys’ team: Algimantas Baziukas, Algirdas Brazys, Raimundas Čivilis, V. Dambrauskas, A. Kairys, M. Karnišovas, Jonas Kazlauskas, Algirdas Kriščiūnas, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Vitoldas Masalskis, O. Moisejenka, Gintaras Leonavičius, Rolandas Penikas, Algimantas Pavilonis, A. Šidlauskas and others. Notable boarding sports school members, who later been a part of the Lithuania national basketball team, trained their skills in Lietkabelis. Such players are: Gintaras Einikis, Dainius Adomaitis, Alvydas Pazdrazdis, Romanas Brazdauskis, Gvidonas Markevičius and others. The team long-time was coached by V. Stankevičius, a Lietkabelis factory director. The factory was team's main sponsor.
1993: Creating the Lithuanian Basketball LeagueEdit
In 1993, basketball club Lietkabelis was one of the eight Lithuanian Basketball League founders. From 1996, after three decades, Lietkabelis factory left basketball world. The team's names were changing constantly: Kalnapilis (1996–1999), Sema (1999–2000), Panevėžys (2000–2001 ir 2004–2007), Preventa-Malsena (2001–2003), Aukštaitija (2003–2004) and Techasas (2007–2012). From January 2012, club's name reverted to the legendary one – Lietkabelis. In 20 LKL seasons the team's jersey was worn by such notable Lithuanian basketball players: Gintaras Bačianskas (19,7 points per game in LKL), Gintaras Kadžiulis, Kęstutis Kemzūra, Mindaugas Lukauskis, Paulius Staškūnas, Žydrūnas Urbonas and others.
In the 1999–2000 season, Panevėžys team (named Sema at that time) participated in international tournament – FIBA Korać Cup for the first time after the country's independence. In 2004–2005 season and from 2007 to 2012, Panevėžys team participated in Baltic Basketball League’s second division (renamed to BBL Challenge Cup in 2007). They also played in the BBL Elite Division from 2005 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2014. During ten years in this league, the team achieved first place twice in the BBL Challenge Cup (in 2005 as Panevėžys and in 2012 as Lietkabelis), they also won bronze medals twice as well (in 2008 and 2011 as Techasas). They won the BBL Elite Division, they won the bronze medals in 2016. In the LKL, the highest the team achieved was the quarterfinals, though they did come close in 2007 to reaching the semifinals, losing a very tough series to BC Šiauliai 1:2. In 2016, they also had a tough series against BC Lietuvos rytas, fighting hard in a losing sweep, though only lost the two away games in Vilnius 74:79 and 78:83.
In October 2008, the brand-new Cido Arena was opened in Panevėžys, which has 5656 seats for the basketball spectators. It became new Panevėžys basketball team home-hourt, replacing the Aukštaitija Sports Palace after 43 years.
2015–present: participating in European competitionsEdit
On July 29, 2015, the club was invited to join the FIBA Europe Cup tournament, which is the alternative version of the 2nd tier European tournament EuroCup, organized by FIBA. However, just before the drawning[clarification needed] ceremony, it was announced that 56 teams would participate instead of 64 and Lietkabelis was not one of these.
On July 21, 2016, Lietkabelis was invited to play in the 2016–17 EuroCup season. The club previously registered again in the FIBA Europe Cup. Following it, the team signed notable veterans: Mindaugas Lukauskis, Kšyštof Lavrinovič and Darjuš Lavrinovič who formed the core of the team. The positive preseason resulted in record sales of over 700 season tickets just on the sales opening day. The LKL season began historically by defeating Žalgiris Kaunas 90–86 for the first time after 16 years. This season became the best one in club history - Lietkabelis had astonishing victories over Žalgiris, BC Lietuvos rytas and BC Neptūnas, the top teams in Lithuania. In the playoffs, Lietkabelis beat BC Vytautas in the quarterfinals 3:0, then shocked Lietuvos rytas 3:1 in the semifinals before losing to Žalgiris in the LKL finals 1:4. Lietkabelis also reached the 2017 King Mindaugas Cup finals, also losing to Žalgiris 63:84. During the season, and the playoffs, Lietkabelis broke many attendance records in Panevėžys.
The debut EuroCup season performance was not less pleasant for the club. On October 12, 2016, Donatas Tarolis buzzer-beater guaranteed Lietkabelis first 89–88 EuroCup victory in the history of the club against KK MZT Skopje. Lietkabelis continued their success in Zagreb, defeating the Croatian champions KK Cedevita 80–76. Another remarkable play was performed by Donatas Tarolis, whose put-back slam secured the victory with just 13 seconds remaining. On November 23, the record of attendance was achieved, with 4427 spectators during the second game versus Cedevita, though Lietkabelis lost a tough rematch 68:69. Lietkabelis qualified to the Eurocup Top16, with a 3–5 record in the group stage with another win against MZT Skopje, though lost both games to the top teams in the group - CB Gran Canaria and BC Nizhny Novgorod. Lietkabelis played in Group F against former tournament champion BC Khimki, and German giants Bayern Munich and ratiopharm Ulm. While Lietkabelis did not manage to defeat Khimki and Bayern, they won both games against a powerful ratiopharm Ulm team, and finished the Eurocup Top16 phase with a respectable 2–4 record.
On June 13, 2017, it was announced that in the 2017–2018 season Lietkabelis for a second straight time will participate in the EuroCup competition. Consequently, the team successfully extended contracts with the Lavrinovič twins, signed former long-term Lithuania men's national basketball team member Simas Jasaitis and candidate of the national team Adas Juškevičius, who later played during the EuroBasket 2017. The team retained their respectable status by starting the 2017–18 LKL season with a perfect 8–0 record and the 2017–18 EuroCup season by defeating the Israeli League champions Hapoel Jerusalem B.C. 86–72. The struggles began for the team after the second game in the Eurocup - a crushing away defeat to Bayern Munich 57:93. After a loss at home to Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia 75:82, Lietkabelis rebounded with a surprising away win against Galatasaray Odeabank 78:73 and a win at home against KK Budućnost 86:79, after a strong performance by Adas Juškevičius, who scored 32 points and hit 9 three-pointers, 7 of which came in the 1st quarter. After the first round of the Eurocup, Lietkabelis had a 3–2 record. The second round became a disaster – Lietkabelis lost an away game to Hapoel 81:93, followed by a loss to FC Bayern 87:88 at home. Head coach Artūrs Štālbergs was shockingly fired after a few upset losses in the LKL, replaced by assistant Vitaliy Cherniy. Lietkabelis shocked Grissin Bon with an 85:82 away win in Reggio Emilia after the changes, but that did not save the team. Tough losses to Galatasaray 77:84 at home, and 62:76 to KK Budućnost in Podgorica left Lietkabelis with a 4–6 record and a game out of the Top16 round, ending the competition in disappointment.
In the LKL, after an 8–0 start, which included dominating wins against Lietuvos rytas 97:81 at Vilnius and a home win over Neptūnas 88:76, Lietkabelis climbed to 1st place in the standings. The streak was snapped by Žalgiris in Kaunas, 90:92. After a shocking loss to BC Vytautas, the last place team in the LKL, coach Štālbergs was fired. Assistant coach Cherniy briefly took over, before Ramūnas Butautas took over as head coach. Point guards Gary Talton and Adas Juškevičius left the team, and were replaced by the talented Arnas Velička and Dominik Mavra. In the 2018 King Mindaugas Cup, Lietkabelis defeated BC Pieno žvaigždės 86:76 in the quarterfinals, qualifying to the Final Four. Facing Žalgiris in a previous year's finals rematch, Lietkabelis lost 74:88, and defeated BC Dzūkija in a hard-fought game 81:78 to win 3rd place. What followed was a string of losses in the LKL, with Lietkabelis quickly falling out of contention for 1st place in the standings. Losses to Lietuvos rytas and Neptūnas meant the team finished only 4th in the regular season, a disappointing finish. In the playoffs, Lietkabelis defeated BC Šiauliai 3:1 in the quarterfinals, thanks to veteran leadership and a great series by team leader Žanis Peiners. In the semifinals, Lietkabelis faced Žalgiris - by this point, Lietkabelis was no match against the LKL champions and one of the best teams in the Euroleague, and lost the series in a disappointing 0:3 fashion. In the 3rd place series, Lietkabelis faced BC Neptūnas, coached by Kazys Maksvytis, who a season before coached Lietkabelis to the Eurocup Top16, and the finals of both LKL and KMT. After winning the first game in Klaipėda, 83:69, Lietkabelis lost at home 69:71. Donatas Tarolis had the best game of his career, finishing with a double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds. Neptūnas went on to win the next two games, 79:71 at home and a second 89:78 win in Panevėžys. Lietkabelis suffered a fiasco, losing the series 1:3, and finishing in 4th place.
The finish in the LKL prevented Lietkabelis from playing in the Eurocup. The team then moved to FIBA, to the Basketball Champions League. Initially, Lietkabelis was supposed play in the qualifying round, but after one of the teams, Eskişehir, announced withdrew from the competition, Lietkabelis earned a place in the 2018–19 Basketball Champions League regular season, joining group C along with defending champion AEK Athens, Antwerp Giants, ČEZ Nymburk, Montakit Fuenlabrada, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem, JDA Dijon and last year's Euroleague participant Brose Bamberg. Much of the roster of the previous season left, with the biggest losses being the Lavrinovič twins, Peiners, Lorenzo Williams. Simas Jasaitis remained with Lietkabelis, and was named the team captain. Lietkabelis then signed solid players like point guard Jamar Wilson, center Mike Morrison, guards Fran Pilepić and Paulius Valinskas from Žalgiris, forwards Vytenis Lipkevičius and Saulius Kulvietis and center from Juventus Mindaugas Kupšas. Longtime club player Ernestas Ežerskis also returned to the team. Longtime assistant Gintaras Kadžiulis was named the head coach. Despite having one of the strongest teams in the LKL, by November, Lietkabelis was only in 4th place. In the Champions League, Lietkabelis suffered losses at home to Antwerp Giants 87:91, and away losses to Hapoel Jerusalem 67:81 and Brose Bamberg 77:82, only scoring one win against ČEZ Nymburk at home, 97:86. At this point, Lietkabelis was 1–3. Changes were made, first by bringing in Jonas Vainauskas, the man behind much of BC Rytas success, as sports director. After the loss in Bamberg, Gintaras Kadžiulis was replaced in the coaching position by Nenad Čanak. Vainauskas as sports director only lasted for two months - until his termination on December 28, 2018. During his tenure, Vainauskas made a lot of changes within the team - Lipkevičius, Ežerskis, Morrison and Pilepić all left and were replaced by guards Stefan Sinovec, Marko Čakarević, Davis Lejasmeiers, center Žiga Dimec and new point guard Vaidas Kariniauskas, who played for the team in the 2014 season, Vainauskas also wanted to release Wilson, but he remained with the team. The results were mixed - in the Champions League, the changes helped the team finish the first round strong, with home wins over JDA Dijon 78:62, and Montakit Fuenlabrada 78:67, with only one loss away to champions AEK Athens, 59:65, and with a 3–4 record, were in a playoff position. During Vainauskas tenure, Lietkabelis also defeated Rytas in an away match in Vilnius, 94:83. During December-March, turmoil followed - Kariniauskas was released in controversial fashion, the results continued to decline at an enormous rate. Lietkabelis only won 2 games out of 7 in the second round of the Champions League, finishing with a 5-9 record, 5th place, and out of the playoffs. In the LKL, Lietkabelis struggled so much, that cross-town rival BC Pieno žvaigždės actually tied for 4th place and for a brief time, Lietkabelis fell to 5th. The signing of Ike Iroegbu helped the team. Lietkabelis won 3rd place in the King Mindaugas Cup. Success against BC Neptūnas and BC Rytas, who Lietkabelis beat in the season series, helped Lietkabelis regain 4th place, at 23-13. Valinskas heavily improved during this time, becoming one of the team leaders. Lietkabelis beat Pieno žvaigždės 2:0 in the quaterfinals. In the LKL semifinals, Lietkabelis was no match against Žalgiris Kaunas, losing 0:2. In the 3rd place series, Lietkabelis lost to Neptūnas 0:3.
Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.
|BC Lietkabelis roster|
Updated: 30 November 2018
|Pos.||Starting 5||Bench 1||Bench 2|
|C||Femi Olujobi||Martynas Sajus|
|PF||Željko Šakić||Gabrielius Maldūnas|
|SF||Tomas Lekūnas||Vytenis Lipkevičius||Tadas Vaičiūnas|
|SG||Stefan Sinovec||Tomas Dimša||Marius Valinskas|
Squad changes for/during the 2019/20 seasonEdit
Out on loanEdit
|Season||League||Pos.||Baltic League||Pos.||Cup||European competitions|
|1999–00||LKL||6th||3 Korać Cup||GS|
|2010–11||LKL||6th||Challenge Cup||3rd||Second round|
|2013–14||LKL||9th||Top 16||Fourth round|
|2017–18||LKL||4th||Third place||2 EuroCup||RS|
|2018–19||LKL||4th||Third place||3 Basketball Champions League||RS|
To appear in this section a player must be either:
- A player who has played at least 3 seasons (if foreign player) or 5 seasons (if Lithuanian player) for the club.
- A player who has won an individual award.
- A Lithuanian player who has played for the Lithuanian national basketball team.
- A foreign international player who has significantly contributed into the results of the club.
- A Lithuanian player who has significantly contributed into the results of the club.
- Techasas boycotted LKF Cup game (Lithuanian)
- Algirdas Kriščiūnas, Antanas Kazys Liorentas and Kazimieras Antanynas bought BC Techasas (Lithuanian)
- Techasas renamed to Lietkabelis (Lithuanian)
- Istorija : KK Lietkabelis (in Lithuanian)
- "FIBA Europos taurės dalyvių sąraše – penki Lietuvos klubai". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
- "FIBA paskutinę akimirką iš turnyro dalyvių sąrašo išbraukė "Lietkabelį" ir "Vytautą"". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- "Oficialu: "Lietkabelis" varžysis Europos taurėje". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
- Pulkovskis, Edgaras. ""Lietkabelio" aukštaūgių tandemą sudarys broliai Lavrinovičiai". Krepsinis.net. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
- "Pirmąją prekybos abonementais į "Lietkabelio" varžybas dieną – rekordas". JP.lt. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
- "LKL starte košmaras favoritams: "Žalgiris" krito Panevėžyje". Krepsinis.lt. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
- "Lietkabelis (LKL 2016-17 season)". LKL.lt (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 30 July 2017.
- "Karaliaus Mindaugo taurę iškovojo antroje finalo pusėje "Lietkabelį" palaužęs "Žalgiris"". Krepsinis.lt. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
- "20-ies taškų persvarą išbarstęs "Lietkabelis" Europos taurėje laimėjo paskutinę sekundę". 24sek.lt. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- "K. Lavrinovičiaus ir Ž. Skučo tandemas atvedė "Lietkabelį" į dramatišką pergalę Zagrebe". Krepsinis.lt. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- "Panevėžyje – naujas lankomumo rekordas". Krepsinis.net. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
- "Lietkabelis Panevezys (EuroCup 2016-17 Games)". www.EuroCupBasketball.com. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
- "Oficialu: "Lietkabelis" – Europos taurėje, jau žino varžovus". Krepsinis.lt. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
- "Broliai Lavrinovičiai lieka Panevėžio "Lietkabelyje"". 24sek.lt. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
- Sarapas, Jaunius. "Ispaniją į Lietuvą iškeitęs A. Juškevičius: kitos komandos nenusvėrė "Lietkabelio" privalumų". Krepsinis.lt. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
- "Grįžta į Lietuvą: "Lietkabelis" prisiviliojo S. Jasaitį". Krepsinis.lt. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
- ""Lietkabelis" įveikė "Vytautą" ir "Betsafe–LKL" žengia be pralaimėjimų - LKL.LT". LKL.lt. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
- "Žinutė Europai: užsivedęs "Lietkabelis" sudorojo Izraelio čempionus". Krepsinis.lt. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
- "Lietkabelis | Lietuvos krepšinio lyga". LKL.lt (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "PANEVEZYS". BBL.net.
- "Lietkabelis Panevezys". www.eurocupbasketball.com.