4 Alexey Borges (FCA)
06/12/2018
Preview
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Franca and Instituto ready to face-off for the Horacio Muratore Cup

FRANCA (DIRECTV Liga Sudamericana 2018) — Two more victories and the new South American champions will be crowned. The contenders, Brazil’s Franca and Argentina’s Instituto de Córdoba, will face each other starting this Friday 7 at the Grand Finale of the DIRECTV Liga Sudamericana 2018, in a series of the best in three, in which the Horacio Muratore Cup is at stake.

The first encounter will take place at Franca's Pedrocão Gymnasium starting at 20:15, local game time. The second game will be the 13th, at Córdoba’s Ángel Sandrín Stadium. If a second game is necessary, it would take place the following day on the same court.

“Of course, we would've liked to decide this at home. But we know that it will be a tough final anywhere. Playing in your gym doesn’t secure anything. What will be decisive is the quality of the game that the team presents,” analyzed Lula Ferreira, Franca’s technical supervisor, regarding the venue factor for this series.

Franca and Instituto have already played against each other in this edition of the DIRECTV Liga Sudamericana at the initial phase, in Group A. During this opportunity, the Brazilians, who were the bracket’s hosts, imposed their presence in a very tight encounter, 82-80. With this result they qualified to the next round, with a 3-0 record, while Instituto left with a 2-1 balance.

At the semi-finals phase that was played in Uruguay, Franca held a 2-1 record after losing on the last encounter against Libertad Sunchales (Argentina); but in the triple tie that was produced between them, the Argentines and Paraguay's Olimpia, they had a better point difference and earned their place at the Grand Finale.

For their part, Instituto were convincing with their three victories in the semi finals against Brazilians Flamengo, Baurú and Minas Tenis, and reached the final with the advantage of playing as locals.

The showdown

Considering the clash between the two teams during the group fase, this final is expected to be very leveled. Both Franca and Instituto come to this first game of the final with their main players intact and with several days of rest. However, the lack of rhythm could also be an influential factor, especially in the Córdoba’s side case, who have been inactive for a longer time.

The Paulistanos, current NBB leaders in Brazil with a 10-2 record, played their last game on Tuesday; but before that, due to the pause for the FIBA Basketball World Cup Americas Qualifiers 2019, they had played on November 24.

Instituto haven’t played an official game since the 22nd of that same month, precisely in this Sudamericana’s semi final. The Argentine LNB, after the Súper 20 Tournament, begun last Wednesday and their opening game was scheduled for the 17th of this month.

“We've been working hard for some days now for the first game we have ahead and hopefully we can bring home the first victory in a court that’ll be very difficult,” said Facundo Piñero, leader in points of Instituto, to the club’s press.
“As game day comes closer, our anxiety grows. But we're super focused. The team has been preparing in the best of ways,” said shooting guard Luciano González, regarding the number of days without any game time.

Piñero and González are two of the most important elements with which Instituto's coach, Facundo Müller, is counting on. Joining them will be Sam Clancy, Leandro García Morales, Pablo Espinoza, Gastón Whelan, Santiago Scala, and others.

As for franca, coach Helinho Rubens will have at his disposition figures such as Lucas Dias, Rafael Hettsheimeir, Elinho Neto, Didi, Andre Goes, Jimmy De Oliveira, Lucas Cipolini and David Jackson.

The winner of this series, besides getting the title, will win a spot at the 2019 Liga de las Américas.

FIBA