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Guilherme Giovanonni (BRA)
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BRA - Uniceub thrilled to reach FIBA Americas League

BRASILIA (Liga Sudamericana) - Life could hardly be any better for coach Sergio Hernandez as he tries to use his wealth of experience and success in Argentina to help Uniceub BRB (Brasilia) become the best team in South America.

Hernandez's fame grew as the head coach of Argentina's national team and Liga Nacional side Penarol Mar del Plata, an outfit he guided to glory in two of the first three editions of the FIBA Americas League.

With Argentina, Hernandez's squad came within a whisker of reaching the title game of the 2006 FIBA World Championship but Andres Nocioni's three-point attempt at the death against Spain in the Semi-Final hit the rim and stayed out.

His national squad overcame a lot of adversity, including injuries to Manu Ginobili and Nocioni, to capture the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

By reaching the Final of the Liga Sudamericana last week, Hernandez's Uniceub guaranteed their place in the upcoming FIBA Americas League competition.

The Brazilians then knocked off hosts Aguada in the Montevideo Final to capture what they hope is their first big honor of the season.

"The FIBA Americas League is our Euroleague," Hernandez said, "the most important club competition on the continent.

"It is a pleasure to have our club qualify for the main tournament of the continent. It is a true honor.

"I was hired to manage a big successful team like Uniceub and to now be involved in the most prestigious tournament is a joy.

"When the time comes, we will participate with the attitude of always trying to overcome round after round to fight for the title, because Uniceub is a team that knows what it is to be continental champions and they want to get there again.

"And me personally, I also won the championship with Penarol. I know the prestige it gives you and I want to re-live it."

It's not just Hernandez who is excited.

The Liga Sudamericana MVP, Guilherme Giovanonni, says it's important for the players and the fans of Uniceub to be in the next big tournament.

"The classification achieved for the FIBA Americas League is very important , especially since the implementation of the Intercontinental Cup," Guilherme said.

Just several weeks ago, Euroleague champions Olympiacos squared off against last season's FIBA Americas League winners Pinheiros/Sky in the Intercontinental Cup. Olympiacos won both games.

"To deal with the European champions, which is what every basketball player wants on this continent, we must win the FIBA Americas League," Guilherme said.

"The system has been perfected.

"We have reached our first goal…(to win the Liga Sudamericana).

"Now we want to win the FIBA Americas League to play in the Intercontinental Cup.

"As a player, you always look for the biggest challenges. That’s what we are going for."