Instituto scrape narrow win in decider against Estelí to reach Semi-Finals
MANAGUA (Nicaragua) - It may have only been a Game Three decider of a Quarter-Final series on Monday night but the way Real Estelí and Instituto of Cordoba traded blows, it seemed like far more was at stake. Instituto won the riveting encounter, 90-85, to advance in the first-ever Basketball Champions League Americas.
The Argentinian club will now face Flamengo in a best-of-three showdown.
Hosts Real Estelí, who lost game one 88-80 in Cordoba but hit back to level the series on Saturday in Managua with an 87-85 triumph, were on the cusp of one of the greatest moment's in Nicaraguan club basketball history. They led by six points early on but then trailed by as many as 12 in the third quarter. Neither team pulled away.
The contest went to the wire. Down 86-82, Real Estelí closed the gap to one when Jared Ruiz buried a three-pointer with 1:11 remaining.
#BCLAmericas #Playoffs 🔑4— #BCLAmericas (@BCLAmericas) January 21, 2020
¡Final de Gloria! Con este cierre de juego, @InstitutoACC se metió en las semifinales del torneo más importante del continente.@RealEsteliB 85 - 90 @InstitutoACC pic.twitter.com/ZmhjVAZ6BR
After getting a stop, Real Estelí went for the lead. Jeleel Akindele backed up Sam Clancy into the low post but was denied as he attempted to score with 38 seconds left.
After Dwayne Davis, who led Instituto with 22 points, stretched the advantage to 88-85 with a pair of free-throws just 11.9 seconds from the end, the visitors chose not to foul and instead allowed Real Estelí's Victor Liz to attempt a potential game-tying three-ball from the top of the key. His attempt drew iron and Instituto rebounded before holding on for the victory.
Nicolas Romano connected on five shots from behind the arc and scored 21 points for Instituto while Jezreel De Jesus poured in a game-high 23 points in defeat. Also for Real Estelí, Christopher Gaston had 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block and Liz scored 18.
Santiago Scala hit a pair of shots from the arc and had 14 points to lead the Instituto bench in scoring
Instituto's reserves, led by Santiago Scala's 14 points, outscored the Real Estelí bench, 26-6.