Key updates and stats to know coming into the second stage of BCLA's Group Phase
MIAMI (United States) – The second stage of Basketball Champions League Americas' Group Stage has arrived with the new year. Between January 13-18th, the 12 teams will look to take another step forward in their quest to make the playoffs. In Group A, Real Estelí will host the games in Managua, Nicaragua. Group B's matches will take place in Minas' arena in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The South American country will also host Group C action, but in Flamengo's home turf in Rio de Janeiro. Meanwhile. Group D games will be played in Buenos Aires, with Obras as the home team.
These are the main news and stats to keep an eye on:
Teams prepare for action
For this set of games, several squads made changes to their rosters, some of them due to injury and others in an effort to strengthen their teams. These are the most significant moves in relation to the first stage:
Libertadores: Guard-forward Javier Mojica and center Daniel Ochefu won't be back and both will be replaced by Dominican scorer Víctor Liz and Elijah Lee Holman.
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Real Estelí: Point guard Tu Holloway takes the place of Christian Pizarro.
Quimsa: Emiliano Toretta and Bryan Carabalí were loaned out and their places will be filled by academy players. Diego Collomb, who played for Argentina at the 2022 South American U18 Championship, is one of the options.
Minas: Big man Eden Ewing will replace forward Novar Gadson, who left the team.
Flamengo: Point guard Ricardo Fischer joins the roster in place of forward Rafael Rachel, who was loaned out to another team in Brazil's NBB.
Instituto: Center Phillip Lockett suffered a cut in his hand and is doubtful for these games.
Peñarol: Shooting guard Rodney Green takes the place of David Huertas. Veteran German wing Robin Benzing is injured (meniscus tear) but will remain after his recovery. Big man Chris Brady was added to the roster for these matchups.
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Franca: Lucas Mariano is doubtful due to a muscle issue but will travel with the team.
Obras: Forward Robinson Opong won't be back. The team signed power forward Mathias Calfani but he's unavailable due to injury.
Stats don't lie
Libertadores (Group A), Quimsa (Group B) and Franca (Group D) were undefeated during December's games with a 2-0 record, while in Group C, Flamengo, Instituto and Peñarol are all even at 1-1. Will those undefeated teams, who dominated most individual and collective metrics, be able to keep up their pace during the second stage?
Here are some of those stats:
Franca, the Brazilian defending champions, were the highest-scoring team with 105.0 points per game. They were the only ones averaging over 100 and six of their players average over 14 points per game.
The versatile Georginho De Paula, capable of playing all three positions in the perimeter, not only led Franca in scoring (20.5 points) but also the tournament in rebounds (12.0) despite not being a traditional frontcourt player.
Quimsa put on a wonderful display of team play. Juan Manuel Córdoba's squad had 35.0 points per game from their bench players. They were also incredibly solid in the painted area, averaging 44.0 points per game.
Libertadores shooting guard Branden Frazier was unstoppable from long range, shooting 64 percent in three-pointers and making 4.5 per game. In the game against Real Estelí, he went 7/10 from downtown to lead his team to victory.
Instituto's backup point guard Leandro Vildoza averaged 4.5 steals in the first two games. Against Peñarol he had an impressive six steals.