09 December, 2022
16 April, 2023
11 Jose Vildoza (FLA)
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BCL Americas Quarterfinals: Sesi Franca, Flamengo heavy favorites in competitive slate

MIAMI (United States) – The fourth season of Basketball Champions League Americas has reached its boiling point. The best teams from the Group Stage have now reached the Quarter Finals, to be played as best-of-3 series (1-2 format). The games will take place March 4-12, in case third games are necessary.

The four teams that manage to survive their matchups will qualify to the Final 4, to be played in the month of April.

Let's look at each of the Quarter Final series:

Libertadores (MEX) vs. Minas (BRA)

Saturday, March 4th
Game 1 - Belo Horizonte, Brazil - 19:00, local time

Wednesday, March 8th
Game 2 - Querétaro, Mexico - 20:30, local time

Thursday, March 9th
Game 3 - Querétaro, Mexico - 20:30, local time

Libertadores (5-1) finished atop Group A in their debut season, while Minas (3-3) was second in Group B. The Mexican squad had a phenomenal Group Stage where they looked impressive on the offensive end, shooting 51.5 percent from the field. However, they'll face a team that, despite their meager record, has experience on their side (winning bronze in the last two editions) and knows how to win at this stage.

 [QRO]  [MIN]
99.2 PTS 88.8
51.5% FG 48.9%
40.2% 3P 39.5%
64.5% FT 76.7%
39.2 REB 38.8
26.8 AST 23.0
7.8 STL 5.8
2.2 BLK 2.3
13.0 TO 11.8


Players to watch

Big man Ismael Romero leads Libertadores' offense by averaging 21.0 points and 8.7 rebounds. The Cuban-born star who plays internationally for Puerto Rico has been a handful in the paint for opposing defenses. Shooting guard Branden Frazier complements him perfectly from the perimeter, shooting 62 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 18.7 points per game. Omar Quintero's squad also has a strong supporting cast that includes the likes of Jorge Gutiérrez, Paul Stoll, Gabriel Girón and Joshua Ibarra.

For Minas, the duo made up of Shaquille Johnson (17.8) and Wesley Ferreira (17.7) accounts for over 35 points per game, but they'll need more support from the rest of the squad. Renan Lenz, Isaac Hamilton and Alexey Borges must step it up to increase the odds of the Brazilian squad.

Flamengo (BRA) vs. UdeC (CHI)

Sunday, March 5th
Game 1 - Concepción, Chile - 19:00, local time

Thursday, March 9th
Game 2 - Río de Janeiro, Brazil - 20:00, local time

Friday, March 10th
Game 3 - Río de Janeiro, Brazil - 20:00, local time

After winning Group C, Flamengo (5-1) are favorites over Udec (2-4), who finished second in Group D. The Brazilians are one of the most prestigious teams in the region and own a BCLA title (2020-21) and 2 Intercontinental Cups (2014, 2022), and they dominated during Group Stage unlike the Chileans, who advanced for the first time but did it with a negative record. The cariocas have a big size advantage that will likely translate on the boards, and when they dominate in that area they’re able to play their preferred fast-paced style that leads to a high volume of three-pointers.

 [FLA]   –   [UDC]
90.0 PTS  83.3
49.6% FG 45.5%
 39.6% 3P 40.4%
67.0% FT  68.3%
 41.8 REB  28.2
23.8 AST 16.3
 6.8 STL 7.0
 1.5 BLK 0.8
 13.2 TO  12.2


Players to watch

What makes Flamengo a dangerous team is the myriad of offensive weapons they possess. Six different players averaged more than 10 points in the previous round, led by point guard José Vildoza (14.5) and shooting guard Luke Martínez (13.5). Rafael Hettsheimeir, Rafael Mineiro, Gabriel Galvanini and Martín Cuello were the other ones who scored in double digits.

UdeC could make things more interesting if a couple of their domestic players could join Americans Reyshawn Terry (18.8 points) and Jerry Evans (16.2) on the offensive end. Sebastián Carrasco and Eugenio Luzcando (Panamanian with Chilean citizenship) took on that role in the win against Obras that allowed them to advance.

Sesi Franca (BRA) vs. Peñarol (URU)

Monday, March 6th
Game 1 - Montevideo, Uruguay - 20:00, local time

Saturday, March 11th
Game 2 - Franca, Brazil - 20:00, local time

Sunday, March 12th
Game 3 - Franca, Brazil - 20:00, local time

Sesi Franca (6-0), who led Group D and finished as the only undefeated squad, look like heavy favorites against Peñarol (2-4), who finished second in Group C. The Sao Paulo squad, defending champions in Brazil's NBB, also haven’t lost in their domestic competition (25-0). Helinho's team flawlessness is the opposite of their opponent's situation, as they struggled to advance out of their group. However, eliminating Argentina's champion (Instituto) proved they're capable of punching above their weight.

 [FCA]   –   [PEN]
 97.3 PTS 68.7
 49.3% FG  41.6%
36.0% 3P 26.1%
84.4% FT  70.3
 41.2 REB  36.0
 20.8 AST  12.3
 7.2 STL 5.5
 3.0 BLK 1.8
9.5 TO  13.7


Players to watch

In the current season of BCL Americas, Franca's engine has been the versatility of Georginho De Paula. The guard/forward was the best player of the Group Stage after averaging 16.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists for an efficiency of 25.7. Franca has also got big contributions from Lucas Dias (17.0 points), Lucas Mariano (14.5), David Jackson (14.2) and Santiago Scala (10.3). Young big man Marcio Santos (9.8) and Mike Smith (12.0), who recently joined the team, are other names to watch.

As for Peñarol, center Charles Thomas (13.8 points) and forward Lee Roberts (11.3) are the key contributors. Rodney Green (8.5) has disappointed recently but showed in the past he can be a big factor. Juan Zanotta and Álex López are their best domestic players, while veterans Diego Pena García and Nicolás Borsellino need to step up their games against Franca.

Quimsa (ARG) vs. Real Estelí (NCA)

Monday, March 6th
Game 1 - Managua, Nicaragua - 19:00, local time

Saturday, March 11th
Game 2 - Santiago del Estero - 22:00, local time

Sunday, March 12th
Game 3 - Santiago del Estero - 22:00, local time

This one is shaping up to be the most even series of all. On one hand, Quimsa (5-1) won Group B and on the other, Real Estelí (4-2) finished in second place in Group A. Both teams have had BCLA Americas success in recent years. The Argentinians won the first edition and finished in fourth place last year, while the Nicaraguans lost in the final in 2020-21 and reach the quarter finals last year. Quimsa's strength lies in their ability to play well in both the half court and on the break, while Estelí is most comfortable when running.

 [QSA]  –  [EST] 
 87.2 PTS 96.2
 48.1% FG 50.1%
37.3% 3P 34.7%
 76.6% FT  76.1%
37.5 REB  46.0
 18.0 AST 19.5
7.0 STL 7.0
3.3 BLK  1.8
 12.0 TO  16.0


Players to watch

They key matchup will be between Eric Anderson and Thomas Robinson. Quimsa's center is arguably the competition's best defensive big man (6.5 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals), while Robinson is one of the most potent offensive players (20.7 points and 11.2 boards) around.

Offensively, Real Estelí has all sorts of weapons, including shooting guard Jezreel De Jesús (20.7 points), power forward Davon Jefferson (15.7 y 8.8 rebounds), point guard Terrell Holloway (14.0 y 6.8 assists) y and wing Jared Ruiz (14.3). Matching their firepower will be a tall task for the Argentinians. Will Brandon Robinson (20.5 points), Franco Baralle (11.2) and Fabián Ramírez Barrios (9.3) be enough?