Club profile: Lietkabelis Panevezys

Aug 09, 2021 by Print
Club profile: Lietkabelis Panevezys

Lietkabelis Panevezys enters its fourth 7DAYS EuroCup season in six years ready to learn from its previous experience and go past the Regular Season for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign, its first in the competition. The new format should benefit Lietkabelis, as thousands of diehard fans are ready to push the Lithuanian powerhouse to its limits in home games.

Founded in 1964 in the city of Panevezys, it competed in the lower divisions in the former Soviet Union for many years and carried the name of a successful local cable factory. For more than three decades, Lietkabelis was always considered one of the strongest basketball clubs in Lithuania and some of the finest Lithuanian players wore its jersey, including Jonas Kazlauskas, Raimundas Civilis, Rimas Kurtinaitis and Algirdas Brazys. Lietkabellis had its best years in the 1980s when it won Lithuanian League championships within the Soviet Union in 1985 and 1988 and also reached the regional Lithuanian Cup final in 1985 and 1986. During that span, Lietkabelis also played in the USSR’s second division and after Lithuania became an independent state, the club was among the co-founders of its top basketball league in 1993.

The factory stopped sponsoring the club in 1996, which brought the first of seven name changes – Kalnapilis, Sema, Panevezys, Preventa-Malsena, Aukstaitija and Techasas – from 1996 through 2012. The club made its European competition debut in the 1999-00 Korac Cup. During a 16-year span, the club made it to the Lithuanian League playoffs nine times, but its run was stopped in the quarterfinals each time. In 2012, the club went back to its proud name Lietkabelis and after two seasons returned to the Lithuanian League playoffs. In 2015-16, Lietkabelis reached the Lithuanian Cup quarterfinals and the Lithuanian League playoffs, in which it was swept by Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. Lietkabelis went further than ever in the Baltic League by finishing third overall. The 2016-17 season was the best to date in Lietkabelis history as it not only debuted in the EuroCup, but advanced into the Top 16 before reaching the finals in both the Lithuanian League and Cup, losing against Zalgiris Kaunas. Lietkabelis lost against to Zalgiris in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 Lithuanian Cup semifinals and the 2018 and 2019 Lithuanian League semifinals.

Lietkabelis put together a 16-8 record in the 2019-20 Lithuanian League - including a victory over Zalgiris - for third place in the standings when the season was called due to the COVID-19 pandemic and made it to the Champions League playoffs. Last season, Lietkabelis returned to the EuroCup but did not go past the Regular Season, ranking fifth in its group with a 2-8 record. It made it to the Lithuanian League semifinals, ranking third again, and to the Lithuanian Cup final but once again Zalgiris stood on its way to the trophy with a 76-69 victory.

Lietkabelis proudly represents a basketball-crazy country like Lithuania in a marquee competition like the EuroCup. Expect the team to show that character and commitment on the court.