Basketball: Lithuanian sensation Mantas Rubstavicius shining on injury return as part of NZ Breakers' winning run

With a four-game winning streak, and almost all their star players back from injury, Mody Maor is backing his NZ Breakers side to overcome Perth Wildcats on Sunday.  

But it's not just his regular stars he's relying on, it's the work of a 21-year-old Lithuanian helping the side get ahead.

It may only be his first season, but Mantas Rubstavicius has been a key part of pushing the Breakers back into playoff contention.  

"We jokingly spoke about this at the beginning of the season," Maor said. "He was injured for the first time.  

"I said 'you guys don't know what we're missing'. He's a very important player for us."  

The 21-year-old started his debut season with a calf injury, but has since worked his way back on the floor.  

"I'm just working every day, and trying to do my best to improve my game," Rubstavicius said. "Maybe coach saw that I'm trying every day, and he put me in the starting line-up."  

Rubstavicius has cemented himself as a starter, and has been the Breakers' go-to shooting guard for their last three games – all wins.   

"He's making shots, he's making his reads and he's also going to continue to improve," asserted Maor. 

That continued improvement has paired nicely with the full injury return of Will McDowell-White and Zylan Cheetham from injury.   

Aside from Finn Delany, the side is at full strength.   

"It helps to have the same roster a few games in a row," added Maor.    

Sunday's match against the Perth Wildcats is their second meeting this season, and Maor is desperately looking for redemption after losing to them 94-76 in November.  

"It's one of those games we've felt the worst coming out of," admitted Maor. "We've lost a lot of games this year, but been competitive in most.  

"That Perth game was not one of those games."   

A fifth straight win is looking likely, with youth on the Breakers' side.