Debuting in Liepaja

Kyle Hines (photo: M. Serbin,
VTB League playoff series starts for our team in Liepaja, resort town in Latvia.

Pre-game breakdown

Arena Riga is not available for Latvian team during planned playoff game (the series are supposed to be played in 1-2-2 format this season). This is why VTB League changed the scheme of CSKA VEF series. It seems strange but the Army Men will start on the road while having the home-court advantage. After that 2 games will be played in Moscow. If necessary, VEF and CSKA will play at home next two games.

Liepaja Olympic Center will host the game. The towns airport is too small to Aeroflots A320, therefore the Army Men went to Palanga, Lithuania, and came to Liepaja by bus.

Three players stayed at home Alan Makiev, Leo Westermann (back surgery) and Andrey Vorontsevich (shoulder injury).

Word to coach

Dimitris Itoudis, CSKA head coach:
We start our playoff series against VEF which is a young and athletic team. We will use the time that we have to be rested and prepared for this very important game.

Past matchups

Wins/losses: 12-0
Game of 2017-18 VTB United League season:

30-Oct-2017. CSKA VEF: 94-69 (+25)
12-Mar-2018. CSKA VEF: 83-102 (+19)

Short dossier

VEF Riga, Latvia
Founded: 1958 (bankrupt in 1992, re-opened in 2007)
Colors: black, white
Home court: Arena Riga (12,500), Liepāja Olympic Centre (2,542)
President: Maris Martinsons
Head coach: Janis Gailitis
Accomplishments: 5-time Latvian champion (2011-13, 15, 17), Baltic League vice-champion (2011), Baltic League bronze winner (2012), 3-time USSR championship bronze winner (1960, 1966, 1991)

Mikhail Kulagin (photo: M. Serbin,
Othello Hunter (photo: M. Serbin,
Will Clyburn (photo: M. Serbin,
Semen Antonov and Nikita Kurbanov (photo: M. Serbin,
Nando De Colo (photo: M. Serbin,
Cory Higgins (photo: M. Serbin,
Sergio Rodriguez (photo: M. Serbin,
Victor Khryapa (photo: M. Serbin,