null Alfredo Paolo Quinteros (ARG)
09/03/2018
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Everything set in Corrientes for second DIRECTV Liga de las Americas 2018 Semi-Final

CORRIENTES (DIRECTV Liga de las Américas 2018) — We already know the two first qualified teams for the Final4 of the eleventh edition of Liga de las Américas: San Lorenzo (Argentina) and Mogi das Cruzes (Brazil).

And this weekend we will meet the other two participants of the decisive round of the most important continental club tournament. For this, in Corrientes, Argentina, Group F will be decided with the presence of hosts Regatas, Estudiantes de Concordia (Argentina), Guaros de Lara (Venezuela) and Bauru (Brazil).

Regatas qualified as winners of Group C, which they played as locals and ended with three victories. The superior level they demonstrated in the first phase is now powered by the reinforcement of forward Brandon Thomas, who replaces injured player Leemire Goldwire to complete the team and increase their possibilities of success. In the initial phase, Gabriel Piccato’s squad had four players that averaged more than 10 points per game. As has been happening since 2011, their offensive leader is Paolo Quinteros, who, at 39 years of age, averages 15 points per game in this edition of Liga de las Américas. His best teammates in the offense for this tournament are Alexis Harris (12.3), Santiago Vidal (11.7) and Fabián Ramírez Barrios (10.7). Playing again at home is a situation that Regatas wants to use in their favor to be again in the Final4, just as they already did in 2011, the year they reached the championship title. In Argentina’s National League, the team from Corrientes is in tenth position, with 11 wins and 11 losses.

Estudiantes de Concordia were second in Group C, reason for which their road to the semi-finals was short. The team from Entre Ríos has the least amount of titles before this round; which does not mean that it has the smaller aspirations. They will try to surprise everyone just as they did when they won second place at Liga Sudamericana, and when they reached this stage of Liga de las Américas —with a 2-1 record. Lucas Victoriano is the coachand has not made any changes to the roster that stands out by its quartet of foreign players. Their greatest scorer is Anthony Smith, with 15.7-point average per game, while their other important offensive weapons are Clay Tucker (12.7 points per game) and Cuban player Jasiel Rivero (12.0). Spanish player David Doblas is not as much of a scorer (7.0), but contributes a good reading of the game in the attacks and marks his presence on the defense. Estudiantes are thirteenth on their National League, with 9 victories and 11 defeats.

Guaros de Lara were the unbeaten winners of Group D and will try to keep their prestigious name on the highest pedestal. For this, the twice-champions of the Americas reinforced their truly significant roster with two foreign players: small forward Mario Little and center Robert Battle. The team conducted by Fernando Duró featured, as the best performers in the first phase, four players of the Venezuelan National Team (which is also coached by the Argentine): Néstor Colmenares (14.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game), Gregory Echenique (13.7), Heissler Guillént (13.3) and Luis Bethelmy (12.0). Guaros, the only team that have won Liga de las Américas back-to-back (2006 and 2017) are dreaming with even more glory. However, the only activity that Guaros have had in the year is their participation in Liga de las Américas, since the Venezuela Professional Basketball League has yet to start and there are no certainties regarding its future.

Bauru showcased their history on Group D and took the second place, with a 2-1 registry. Their only loss was against a powerful Guaros. The truth is that the Brazilian team has more than enough reasons to think that they will greatly improve the level they demonstrated as locals, since in that group they suffered the absence of their star, Alex García, and only counted for a few minutes on Rafael Hettsheimeir, their other great player. Without the leading roles of García and Hettsheimeir, the squad coached by Demetrius depended on outstanding figures Kendall Anthony (16.7 points per game) and Renan Lenz (16.3). Besides, Duda Machado contributed with his experience and led the way in the complicated moments while the young players had more responsibilities than usual in the game, and acted accordingly. In the current NBB season Bauru is fifth place, with a 15-win and 9-loss registry.

The last quadrangular is about to start before the expected Final4, where here, in Corrientes, we will finally know which two teams will complete the four best teams in the Americas for 2018.

Remember to follow everything that happens in DIRECTV Liga de las Américas through its social media: @Ligamericas on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

FIBA