Minas, Peñarol pick up their first victories in Season 4
MONTEVIDEO (Uruguay) – Season 4 of the Basketball Champions League Americas continued with high emotions this Monday, as Groups B and C started their campaigns at the Peñarol Palace, in Montevideo, Uruguay. Minas and Peñarol dominated in their respective matches.
Minas 93 – 75 Bigua
Two teams with Basketball Champions League Americas experience met again as Minas took a statement win over Bigua in a 93-75 win on Monday night in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The two veteran teams kept it close in a back and forth first quarter, but Minas took a four-point edge as they dominated from the three-point line early with Wesley Ferreira, Shaquille Johnson and Renan Lenz all tipping in points from deep.
Victor Rudd and Donald Sims led Bigua’s early offensive charge but bad turnovers allowed Minas to take the slight lead after 10 minutes of play.
Isaac Hamilton made his impact for Minas in the second quarter as they pulled away by 14 points at the half.
However, Bigua refused to go down without a fight and held Minas to just 18 points in the third quarter. Bigua couldn’t cut into Minas' lead by more than 12 points and ran out of gas in the fourth, scoring just 10 points.
Santiago Vidal was an added value to Bigua on all sides of the ball, but outside of the four scorers in double digits for Bigua, the bench contributed just 2 points which could not lift them over a strong Minas team.
Hamilton continued to roll in the final quarter to bring his total for the game to 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists but it was Johnson who led all Minas scorers with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
Six different Minas scorers ended the game in double digit scoring while tallying 43 rebounds and 23 assists as a team.
As for Bigua, shooting just 31 percent from deep, Santos and Rudd combined for over half the team’s total scoring with 21 and 20 points respectively and accounting for 17 of the team’s 33 total rebounds.
Peñarol 64 – 56 Instituto
After missing BCLA action last season, Instituto made their third appearance in four seasons against a Peñarol team making their debut in BCLA play.
But even the veteran Instituto squad couldn’t handle the fierce Peñarol squad looking to make a name for themselves as they grinded out a 64-56 win in their Group Stage opener on Monday Night in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Both teams struggled to find any momentum in the first quarter, both scoring just 12 points each, as Lee Roberts and Gaston Federico Elias took charge for their respective teams despite failing to find any true chances.
Charles Thomas was the leader for Peñarol as they led by as many as 9 points in the second quarter, but Instituto scored late to cut the lead to just 7 points going into halftime.
That 7-point lead would carry them through to the end of the quarter as the teams continued to battle back and forth with Peñarol outscoring Instituto 32-31 in the second half.
Instituto struggled to move the ball well against a strong Peñarol team and had to rely on physicality, Tayavek Gallizzi’s 15 minutes of action was the most impactful of the team.
Leandro Vildoza and Philip Lockett were two of Instituto’s most aggressive players in the match – with Vildoza receiving a technical foul in the match – but their aggression helped keep them within reach in the third quarter before a Thomas three-pointer extended Peñarol’s lead to 7 again.
Halfway through the fourth quarter Instituto found themselves within a basket, but Peñarol went on a 12-6 run in the final minutes and secured their first win in their team’s BCLA history.
Thomas finished the game with 22 points and 7 rebounds, while Roberts finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds for Peñarol.