Lietkabelis Panevezys makes its return to the 7DAYS EuroCup after two seasons away. Last season, under Coach Nenad Canak, Lietkabelis reached the Lithuanian Cup semifinals for the third year running and again lost to Zalgiris Kaunas at that stage. The team put together a 16-8 record in the Lithuanian League - including a victory over Zalgiris - and sat third in the standings when the season was called due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lietkabelis started the Basketball Champions League with four straight losses and went on to place fourth in the group stage, thus securing a spot in the playoffs, where it lost to Zaragoza. The club will look to build on that success back in the EuroCup.
Lietkabelis has made quite a name for itself over the past half-decade, even though the club has a strong history going back more than half a century. 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, Vitoldas Masalskis, Vytenis Andriunas and Raimundas Civilis, who all played for the club at the legendary Aukstaitija Sports Palace at some point. Rimas Kurtinaitis and Algirdas Brazys both started their careers with the club, too. 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 1999-2000 Korac Cup, but did not register a win in six games. During a 16-year span under different names, the club made it to the Lithuanian League playoffs nine times, but its run was stopped in the quarterfinals each time. It also started participating in the Baltic League, in which it earned a promotion to the elite level in 2005 and 2012. 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. Both of those losses were to Zalgiris and the powerhouse from Kaunas has kept Lietkabelis from more possible success. Lietkabelis lost 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. Lietkabelis started the Basketball Champions League with four straight losses and went on to place fourth in the group stage, thus securing a spot in the playoffs, where it lost to Zaragoza. Lietkabelis hopes to take the next step in its return to the EuroCup.
|Lithuanian National League: 1984-85, 1987-88