Mantas Kalnietis – League’s top Lithuanian player

Lokomotiv-Kuban guard Mantas Kalnietis has been named the 2012/2013 VTB United League’s top Lithuanian player. He received the award today in Krasnodar prior to Game 3 of the CSKA – Lokomotiv-Kuban Finals from the VTB United League Head of Referees, Algimantas Pavilonis.

The VTB United League inaugurated the award this season, recognizing the top player from each of the nine participant-countries in the League. The winners (determined by citizenship, not by team) are named at the end of the season. In the six countries with only one VTB United League club (Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic, and Kazakhstan), the winners were determined by a panel of League experts. The top Russian, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian players are determined jointly by the League and leading sports media outlets in those countries – Russian information agency R-Sport (RIA-Novosti), Lithuanian website Basketnews.lt and Ukrainian website Basket-Planet.com.

The top Lithuanian player was selected by panels of VTB United League and Basketnews.lt experts. Lokomotiv-Kuban guard Mantas Kalnietis took first in both rankings to beat out Zalgiris center Ksistof Lavrinovic and Donetsk forward Darius Songaila.

Khryapa played 24 games this season (not counting the Finals), averaging 13.2 points, 4.6 assists, 2.6 rebounds and a 13.9 efficiency rating. He became a leader in Krasnodar, earning League MVP honors in February and playing a key role in helping Lokomotiv-Kuban reach the VTB United League Finals.

Mantas Kalnietis is the final ninth player to be honored. Petr Benda (Nymburk) of the Czech Republic, Tanel Sokk (Kalev) of Estonia, Aaron Cel (Turow) of Poland, Anton Ponomarev (Astana) of Kazakhstan, Vladimir Veremeenko (UNICS) of Belarus, Kristaps Janicenoks (VEF) of Latvia, Oleksiy Pecherov (Azovmash) of Ukraine and Victor Khryapa (CSKA) of Russia already received their awards.

How the League’s top Lithuanian player was determined:

Basketnews.lt experts:
1. Mantas Kalnietis (Lokomotiv-Kuban) – 3 points
2. Ksistof Lavrinovic (Zalgiris) – 2 points
3. Darius Songaila (Donetsk) – 1 points

League experts:
1. Mantas Kalnietis (Lokomotiv-Kuban) – 3 points
2. Ksistof Lavrinovic (Zalgiris) – 2 points
3. Darius Songaila (Donetsk) – 1 points

1. Mantas Kalnietis (Lokomotiv-Kuban) – 6 points
2. Ksistof Lavrinovic (Zalgiris) – 4 points
3. Darius Songaila (Donetsk) – 2 points

- I’m very proud to be the top Lithuanian player, - said Kalnietis in an interview with VTB-League.com. – This is a big honor to receive this type of award in our arena in Krasnodar. But now we need to focus on the final games. This small victory should be motivation to play even better.