Žalgiris BC wins their first Mindaugas Cup

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The LKL (Lithuanian Basketball League) held their day of razzamatazz in Kaunas this year, showcasing the best of Lithuanian basketball.
Žalgiris BC wins their first Mindaugas Cup
© Ray Vyšniauskas

Early expectations of the usual Žalgiris v Lietuvos Rytas final were upset on the Tuesday before the weekend when Utenos Juventus defeated Lietuvos Rytas in the preliminary final, eliminating the Vilnius team, and holders of the Mindaugas Cup, from the finals.

In the semi finals on Saturday Juventus could not repeat their winning run and fell to Lietkabelis, setting up an intriguing final. Lietkabelis is the only team to defeat Žalgiris twice this season, and were probably the team best placed to conjure an upset.

Žalgiris meanwhile made quick work of Vytautas taking a regulation 21 point win in the semi final.

Saturday was also the date for the slam dunk competition, and to the delight of the audience, the winner was 175 centimetre Gediminas Žitlinskas, who dazzled the gym with his hops.

On Sunday Juventus regained their composure to take the bronze medal defeating Vytautas 70 - 61 in a game that was tight throughout, with Juventus best holding their nerve and taking the third prize cheque.

The three point shooting contest was held between finals, and in another fairytale result, 37 year old Arvydas Čepulis took the title.

In the final the underdog Lietkabelis started slowly, but hit the lead late in the second quarter, only for a late Žalgiris bucket taking the home side a one point lead at the long break.

In a tough physical encounter Lietkabelis started to wane under the pressure as fatigue and foul trouble started to weigh. Žalgiris started to take control in the third quarter and put them away in the last as they rolled over the tiring visitors from Panevėžys, cementing the victory 84 - 63.

For Žalgiris Brock Motum and Keven Pangos top scored with 14, while Lietkabelis was led by Ben Madgen and Simas Galdikas who added 11 each.

Edgaras Ulanovas was named MVP of the series.

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