Estudiantes de Concordia win last Final4 spot
CORRIENTES (DIRECTV Liga de las Américas 2018) — Estudiantes gave the greatest surprise of their history and qualified for Liga de las Américas’ Final Four. The Argentine team won in a key duel against Bauru and, in the second international competition they have ever participated in, they once again reached the decisive stage as they did in Liga Sudamericana. As for Regatas, they lost their unbeaten status after losing against Guaros de Lara.
In the start of the game day, Estudiantes recovered after a 13-point disadvantage in the half time and beat Bauru 93-88, thus securing the last available ticket for the Final Four. The squad from the province of Entre Rios displayed their character and intelligence to stay in the game despite their rival’s superiority during the first half. The third quarter was fundamental for Victoriano's team, since from that point onward they took the lead (31-16) and had control of the game’s action.
Estudiantes player Anthony Smith was their star figure, with 27 points (5/8 in 3PTS), 7 rebounds and 5 assists. As in the previous evenings, the other foreigners were also very important. Clay Tucker contributed 20 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds; while Jasiel Rivero and David Doblas did 13 points each. But besides the individual aspects, Estudiantes only registered 5 losses, mainly thanks to the work of their two point guards, Sebastián Orresta and Leandro Vildoza, who did not miss any opportunity with the ball. For Bauru, Rafael Hettsheimeir was their most outstanding man, with 20 points and 7 rebounds.
In the evening game, Guaros showcased their twice-champion pride and despite coming to the game with no chances, won Regatas 79-68. It is important to say that for the Argentine side, Paolo Quinteros and Santiago Vidal —two of their most important players— were resting, and Alex Harris could not step on to the court due to an injury to the right foot. The Venezuelans ended the tournament with 4 triumphs and 2 defeats and Gregory Echenique had a phenomenal night, with 31 points and 10 rebounds; while Heissler Guillént contributed 19 points. For Regatas, the best scorer was Juan Pablo Arengo, with 14.
Estudiantes now have a date with history. The underdogs of Liga de las Américas are still in the game. And like this, the encounters of the Semi-Finals for the Final Four —starting on March 24— are now defined: Regatas Corrientes against Mogi das Cruzes, and San Lorenzo against Estudiantes de Concordia. The countdown begins, and expectations start to grow.