Sesi Franca hope for international glory in BCL Americas Final 4
MIAMI (United States) – Over the last 2 years, Sesi Franca have dominated the Brazilian domestic league. Coached by Helinho García (son of revered coach Helio Rubens), they're the defending NBB champions and currently in the middle of an undefeated streak of more than 40 games, including domestic games, Campeonato Paulista and Basketball Champions League Americas.
However, their biggest deficit has been at the international level. Despite winning Liga Sudamericana in 2018, they haven't been able to make their mark at BCL Americas, the most prestigious continental tournament. In their previous 2 showings (2019-20 and 2020-21), they were only able to reach the quarter finals.
But they now have their best shot thanks to their current level of play and the fact that they'll be hosting the BCL Americas Final 4, to be played April 14-15 at Ginásio Pedrocão.
During the regular season of BCLA, Sesi Franca tore through Group D (6-0) and then swept Peñarol in 2 games in the quarter finals. Their opponent in the Final 4 will be Quimsa of Argentina, who lifted the trophy in 2019-20 and will try to spoil the Brazilians' perfect season.
"The game against Quimsa will be one between two of the best teams in the Americas and that's why we're in the Final 4. Both teams have balanced rosters and players whose talent can swing a game," said coach Helinho. "We'll have to focus on minimizing their strengths. I think that's how we'll be able to get that victory we want so much."
Despite facing an experienced opponent, Sesi Franca's performance in this BCL Americas and the added benefit of playing in front of their home crowd has them in an unbeatable position to reach their objective.
Helinho's squad has shown a high level of execution, leading the tournament in scoring (95.3 points per game) and free throw percentage (82.8). They're also second in three-pointers made (12.0) and are the best at taking care of the ball (just 10.6 turnovers per game). On the other end of the floor, they have the second-best defense (allowing just 76.9 points per game). They're also second in rebounds (41.9) and first in blocks (3.8).
"Our play has been consistent. We had tough matchups where we were down but were able to put them away. We had inspired players on offense every night and that, plus our effort and defensive consistency, paid off," said forward Georginho De Paula, the team's leader in efficiency (22.0) thanks to his 14.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
But even with all that wind in their sails, Sesi Franca are far from being overconfident and they're looking to improve some areas heading into the game against Quimsa and a potential final.
"Quimsa is a team with a rich history and tradition in the continent. They have very talented players. It's going to be a great duel. We must improve our defensive consistency because we won't be at our best offensively every day. We have to try to win with a bigger defensive effort," added Georginho.
This Final 4 matchup will be the third in history between Sesi Franca and Quimsa in BCL Americas. The Argentinians won the 2 previous ones when they faced each other in group play during the tournament's inaugural season.