Team in Focus: Quimsa
BUENOS AIRES (Argentina) - In the buildup to the FIBA Intercontinental Cup taking place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, we take a look at each of the two teams. Here, we profile Quimsa, who claimed a spot by winning the 2019-20 Basketball Champions League Americas.
More than a decade since Quimsa had celebrated a continental title as 2009 Liga Sudamericana II winners, the Santiago del Estero outfit coached by Sebastian Gonzalez entered the inaugural BCL Americas campaign with plenty of desire. The club, which never lost its hunger during the break caused by the coronavirus pandemic, defeated Flamengo at the end of October of 2020.
Quimsa never took their eyes off the prize. When play was stopped because of the pandemic in March, the Fusion, as Quimsa are nicknamed, were knotted at 1-1 with fellow Argentinians San Lorenzo in their Play-Off Semi-Final showdown.
When a decider was finally played, in Buenos Aires, on October 27, Quimsa's prospects looked bleak after San Lorenzo opened up a 17-point advantage three minutes into the second half. Gonzalez's men stormed back, though, and won in overtime, 110 - 97.
Then against a Flamengo outfit that had prevailed in all eight of its BCL Americas games, Quimsa again had to hold their nerve. After opening up a 12-point advantage, the Argentinian club found itself on the wrong end of an 18-3 run that left Flamengo with momentum and a 66-61 lead.
Quimsa dug in, however, and battled back. The contest remained close until the end. With just under four minutes remaining and the score, 77-77, the Santiago del Estero team struck with back-to-back three-pointers from Pablo Gramajo and Brandon Robinson before prevailing, 92-86.
"We were never afraid of losing," Gonzalez said after the contest. "They didn't make us favorites but we knew that if we did things well, we had possibilities and today we are cutting down the nets."
Players to Watch
Robinson thrives when games are on the line for Quimsa
Robinson couldn't have been much better for Quimsa in their march to the inaugural BCL title, especially in the showdown with Flamengo. The American, who was MVP of the Final, finished with 26 points to increase his season average to 20.8 points per game. He scored 21 or more points in six of the team's BCL Americas games.
Power forward Ramirez brings plenty of talent and emotion to the floor for Quimsa
The 30-year-old does a lot of everything for the Fusion, whether it's putting the ball in the basket, defending bigs in the low post or smaller opponents outside, or crashing the boards for important rebounds. In his two games with the team, he had 22 points in the overtime triumph against San Lorenzo and finished ranked No. 1 in efficiency at 21.5.
Copello plays a crucial role as one of Quimsa's point guards
Copello, 28, does a multitude of things for Quimsa that help them win games, whether it's shooting an eye-popping 47.8 percent from behind the arc in the league this season or coming up with 1.39 steals per contest. Copello was crucial in the Final win over Flamengo, logging more than 24 minutes and contributing 11 points, three assists and six rebounds.
Quimsa won the Liga Nacional de Basquet in the 2014-15 season
Quimsa, a club founded in 1989, has had its share of wonderful players over the years, and huge moments. Point guards Nicolas Aguirre and Miguel Cortijo once wore the jersey of the Santiago del Estero club, as did current Argentina national team star Gabriel Deck.
The team has had its share of success, too, since competing in the top flight for the first time in the 2006-07 campaign.
Quimsa experienced double glory in 2009, winning the Copa Argentina and Liga Sudamericana, while in 2014 they prevailed in the Super 8 Tournament.
The Fusion claimed the Liga Nacional de Basquet crown in the 2014-15 campaign, while in 2018, they won the Torneo Super 20.
Quimsa grew in prestige by winning on the continental stage last season. They lifted the trophy in the inaugural Basketball Champions League Americas after overcoming a traditional powerhouse from Brazil, Flamengo, in the Final.