The Klaipeda Neptunas basketball players, who visited Kazakhstan for a few days, was pleasantly surprised by the attention of the Lithuanians living in this country that was paid to them - about 100 fellow-countrymen who emigrated to Almaty were watching the Neptunas game with the tricolour flags of Lithuania in their hands. After the game the players from Klaipeda were invited to the embassy of Lithuania in Kazakhstan.
"When we saw a large crowd of Lithuanians during the VTB United League game, we were fascinated very much. It was kind of unexpected to us. Their sincere support inspired the Neptunas players to fight to the final second" - the Neptunas Team Director Osvaldas Kurauskas said.
As he put it, the game was due to be played in Astana, but it was decided to transfer this game to Almaty due to the President's Day Holiday.
"We were asked to play in Almaty and we agreed. As later on it appeared that a large community of the Lithuanians living in Kazakhstan is established in Almaty. One of the representative from the embassy of Lithuania made up his mind to spring a surprise on Neptunas by inviting the Lithuanians to the game" - the manager of Neptunas explained.
After the game the Neptunas players talked warmly with the Lithuanians living in Kazakhstan and spoke about the sport "behind the scenes" and life in Lithuania.
"International competition is useful not only to the basketball players to improve, but to Klaipeda and even to the whole Lithuania. The name of the town and the country is proclaimed through sports activities. We are performing a certain advertising mission of the country. The athletes are a certain type of their country's ambassadors", O. Kurauskas maintained.
We remind you that Neptunas overcame the Kazakhstan basketball champions - Astana team with the score of 82:84.
"The men exerted themselves to the highest regards. Vytautas Sarakauskas' nose was broken at the beginning of the game, but he went on and fought to the last breath. Namely due to his combativeness and dedication we got the victory", Head Coach of Neptunas Kazys Maskvytis said.
On 4th December (Wednesday) at 7 pm Neptunas is playing an extremely important Eurocup game against the Athens Panionios (Greece) team in the “Svyturys arena”.
"Valdas Vasylius, who felt some tarsus pains, should assist the team. But we cannot say it about Vytautas Sarakauskas. It may be that he will miss this game. It is very important to overcome Panionios for us. The victory would increase our chances of breaking through into the second stage of the Eurocup tournament. We will try to exploit this chance", O. Kurauskas said.
This article was prepared from the daily “Vakaru Ekspresas”, the text author is Paulius Matulevicius