VEF Riga Secures Victory in FIBA Champions League Against Tenerife

Yesterday, within the framework of the FIBA ​​Champions League, the Spanish ACB League club “Tenerife” was played by “VEF Riga” for the first time, being superior at home with 77:72. The team coached by Jānis Gailīš won the second consecutive victory in the tournament, which did not allow them to leave the last position in Group C yet. In order to get into the playoffs for a place in the top 16, in the last subgroup round, Turkey’s “Darussafaka” must be defeated on the road, which, compared to the first game of both teams, has left three leading players, including Jānis Timms and Kyle Olmen.

“It seems that we played one of the best games of the season. We stuck to the game plan, regardless of the events on the field, we played with high self-sacrifice and as a team,” said VEF captain Dairis Bertāns at the press conference, who hit three long shots in the first half, finishing the match with ten points. “We are happy for the victory, we continue the fight for the continuation of the tournament and in the last round everything is in our own hands.”

In the third quarter, the players of “Tenerife” earned three technical notes, but in the whole game, the guests received four technical notes from the referees. ”They like to play aggressively, maybe even dirty, but they don’t like it when someone does it to them. Then they become emotional, start acting. We also saw how many technical notes they had. You could see that they don’t like our aggressive game,” the VEF captain mentioned the recipe for provoking the opponents.

VEF head coach Jānis Gailītis started the press conference by thanking for the support in the stands, later praising the team’s performance. ”I liked the team spirit, the desire to play together and the consistent performance during the game. At different stages of the game, another leader appeared for us. “Tenerife” has always been a strong team, so this is an important victory for us,” said Gailītis, who urged not to overestimate the success achieved. “I don’t think we should underestimate ourselves so much that this is a special success because it’s a Spanish basketball team or the winner of the Champions League.”

The coach mentioned the absence of Māras Gulbja as a significant loss in the rotation, which was compensated by rotations with a smaller lineup. So, for example, Rodrigo Boomeister made his debut in the Champions League, and at times there were nominally four defenders on the field together with a tall one. Gulbis, who had started the season productively, contracted Covid-19, the coach revealed after the match. “I think he’ll be back soon.”

The VEF coach attributed the seven long shots allowed in the first quarter to the mistakes made in the defense and the two long shots hit by Jaime Fernandez of Tenerife, which were his only ones in the game. Meanwhile, in the assessment of the last game against “Darussafaka”, Gailītis emphasized the changes in the Turkish club, which will not change the fact that it will be a big game for both units. “It will be like a play-off game for us. We are very happy for such an opportunity. Compared to the first game, their squad has become weaker, but they still have very good players. There is never an empty space. Maybe the ability to perform for a long time has been lost, which is proven by the results in the Turkish league, but this team is capable of performing at a high level in one game.”

In the previous season, VEF’s participation in the FIBA ​​Champions League ended after the group tournament battles, but it participated in the playoffs two seasons ago, when it lost to France’s Dijon. The only time the “top16” club played in 2020/2021. in the season of the year. The decisive match in Turkey on December 19.


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