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Franco Balbi (ARG)
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Winner Limeira, Argentino de Junin advance

MONTEVIDEO (Liga Sudamericana) - Winner Limeira and Argentino de Junin joined the Semi-Final Round party in the Liga Sudamericana after clinching the top two spots in Group C on Thursday night in Uruguay.

Argentino, who had surprised last season's beaten finalists Aguada on Wednesday, 84-75, claimed their second win less than 24 hours later with a 78-65 triumph over Importadora Alvarado.

That left Group C hosts Aguada needing not only to defeat unbeaten Winner to create a three-way tie of 2-1 teams, but to do so by several points in order to improve their goal differential.

Aguada won in overtime, 74-72, but their margin of victory wasn't enough to leapfrog Argentino into second place.

Six clubs are now in the Semi-Final Round, with Malvin and Mogi Das Cruzes having progressed from Group A and Comunikt and Boca Juniors having made it from Group B.

The Group D games involving Defensor Sporting, Guerreros de Bogota, Bauru and Uniceub BRB are to be played next week.

Argentino left no doubt about the winner of their clash with Ecuadorians Alvarado as they raced into a 26-11 lead by the end of the first quarter and never turned back.

The lead ballooned to 47-29 by half-time.

Franco Balbi, who had been terrific in the win over Aguada, scored nine points and handed out 11 assists for Argentino.

Winner, who had been decisive victors in the first two games over Argentino and Alvarado, didn't have it as easy against Aguada.

Cheered on by their boisterous fans, the hinchada, Aguada kept the game close with Andrew Feeley their most reliable source of points from start to finish.

Had Robert Hornsby made two free-throws in the waning seconds of regulation, the Uruguayans would have prevailed in the game but not by enough points to improve their goal differential to the necessary amount of +5.

After Hornsby's two misses, therefore, the game went to the extra period and that gave Aguada a chance to win by a bigger margin.

They only managed to edge Winner by a couple of points, however, much to the relief of the Argentino fans who had stayed to watch the second game.