Flamengo advances to BCLA finals after 20 point comeback
A comeback for the ages. Guided by veterans Olivinha and Marquinhos, Flamengo erased a 20-point deficit and defeated Instituto 66-64 on Thursday to advance to the Basketball Champions League Americas finals.
The Brazilians started the fourth quarter on a 12-0 run to tie the game and, inspired by a delirious crowd in the Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro, managed to complete the task even though Germain Jordan could have won it for the Argentineans on a last-second three-point attempt.
It was an incredible second-half performance by the cariocas, with Olivinha shining brightest in front of a full house that included soccer stars Gabigol and Filipe Luis.
The 36-year old scored 13 of his 20 after intermission. He also finished with seven rebounds and a pair of steals.
Marquinhos added 18 points for Flamengo, who outscored Instituto 45-23 in the second half. The National Team legend saved his best for last with 10 in the final period, including a pair of clutch free throws with 13 seconds to go.
The outcome was unthinkable at the half, when the team coached by Sebastian Ginóbili dominated thanks to some sturdy defense and a good measure of outside accuracy. With Martín Cuello and Santiago Scala on fire from beyond the arc, the cordobeses had full control of the game and looked on their way to bringing the series back to Argentina for the rubber match.
The whole team went cold in the second half, including an 0-for-8 from downtown and a scoring drought that lasted over 5 minutes at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Scala (18) and Cuello (13) still finished in double digits, but Flamengo neutralized Samuel Clancy (7 points on 2-for-12 from the field) and clawed their way back. And aided by some timely contributions like this Rafa Mineiro dagger, the Brazilians survived and advanced.