20 January
30 April, 2021
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Old versus new is the theme for the 2021 BCLAmericas final

MANAGUA (Nicaragua) - Old versus new is the theme for the 2021 BCLAmericas final. On Tuesday evening, the 2019-20 runner up from Brazil, Flamengo, will take on the club that was formed in 2018 out of Nicaragua, Real Esteli. While Flamengo is looking to amend their loss in the final last season to Quimsa, Real Esteli is seeking their first-ever title.

While both of these teams won their groups, they arrived at this spot in the bracket through different paths. Flamengo has yet to lose in BCLAmericas play, including a perfect 5-0 record in a Group D that wasn't all that competitive for them. On the flip side, Real Esteli had to grind through a Group A that featured Caballos and Titanes.

Both clubs cruised through their bracket matchups to reach the final, but once again, it was in unique ways. While Flamengo and Real Esteli both are heavily invested on the offensive end of the floor, the former relies on balance with the latter using firepower.


Flamengo is led by forward Marquinhos Sousa (14.2 PPG) and center Rafael Hettsheimeir (10.8 PPG), but also receive contributions with Yago Santos' versatility, Lucas Martinez's shooting ability and Rafa Mineiro's rebounding. They rank No. 1 in the BCLAmericas with 20 assists per game, proving that their chemistry and experience is critical to their success.

Even though Real Esteli will occasionally see solid performances from Jared Ruiz or Alexander Franklin, the opponent typically knows who's going to beat them going into the game. It all starts with guard Jezreel De Jesus, who is an unstoppable force averaging 19.7 points per game. De Jesus is coming off a monster 29-point performance in Real Esteli's victory over Minas in the semifinals, and his ability to score from all levels of the floor is incredibly difficult to contain. Real Esteli also has punch with former NBA forward Renaldo Balkman and guard Javier Mojica, who both effectively compliment De Jesus.


Ultimately, the difference in who will be cutting down the nets or not is based on turnovers and defensive gameplans.

Real Esteli capitalized off Minas' lack of ball security in the semifinals as they scored 18 more points off turnovers and eight more points in transition total. Flamengo can ill afford to get into a track meet with a team that certainly wants to play at that pace.

While Flamengo will need to have an answer for Real Esteli's "Big Three," the Brazilian club's offensive system, ball movement and precision will cause just as many issues – if not more. Flamengo may not have the firepower, speed and possibly athleticism of Real Esteli, but their veteran presence and efficiency is extremely tough to overlook.

So who will be raising the trophy on Tuesday night -- the Brazilian heavyweights who are seeking revenge for a disappointing loss, or the hometown heroes looking to build a legacy for their club and hoops in their country? It will all go down in the much-anticipated return of the BCLAmericas final.