08 December, 2023
14 April, 2024
3 Marcio Santos (FBC)
02/03/2024
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Quarterfinals: Getting to know the favorites and how each team arrives

MIAMI (United States) – The Basketball Champions League Americas Season 5 playoffs are here. The Quarterfinals will be played March 4-11 with best-of-3 series and a 1-2 format. The winners will earn a spot in the Final Four, scheduled for April.

In the first matchup, reigning champions SESI Franca will face Hebraica Macabi. The other pairings will be Halcones de Xalapa against Nacional, Quimsa against Real Estelí and Flamengo vs. Obras. Let’s take a look:

SESI Franca [FBC] vs. Hebraica Macabi [HEB]

Tuesday, March 5
Game 1: Montevideo (URU), Antel Arena - 19:10 local time (GMT -3)

Friday, March 8
Game 2: Franca (BRA), Ginásio Pedrocão - 18:40 local time (GMT -3)

Saturday, March 9*
Game 3: Franca (BRA), Ginásio Pedrocão - 18:40 local time (GMT -3)

Defending champions SESI Franca are once again the title favorites, but they don’t have quite the same team as last season, when they won it all in undefeated fashion. In fact, this year they lost to Obras in the Group Stage and finished atop Group D with a 5-1 record. Do they still have enough to repeat? Absolutely. The team still has a potent offense (leading the competition at 97.2 points per game) and experienced players. Hebraica Macabi, second in Group C, is the only team that advanced despite a negative record (2-4). They’ll need to punch above their weight on both ends of the floor to have a chance in this series.

[FBC] [HEB]
97.2 PTS 75.8
82.6 PTS Against 82.6
49.2% FG 43.1%
40.4% 3P 31.1%
77.9% FT 81.8%
43.8 REB 38.2
19.8 AST 15.3
7.5 STL 6.7
2.7 BLK 1.8
14.5 TO 14.5

 

Players to watch
Lucas Dias was the best player of the Group Stage. He led BCLA in scoring (21.8 points per game) and efficiency (23.3) and is SESI Franca’s marquee star. The offense flows through him, but others like Wesley Ferreira (14.3 PTS), Charles Hinkle (12.6), Marcio Santos (11.4) and veterans Heissler Guillent (10.0), Santiago Scala (9.8) and David Jackson (9.7) provide a level of depth few others can match.

The Uruguayan champions have wing Jordan Williams as their leading scorer (16.0) but it’s point guard Luciano Parodi (11.8 points and 6.2 assists) who commands the offense. Big man Franklin Hassell (14.7 points and 9.5 rebounds) will play a big role against their opponent’s massive frontcourt, especially with teammate Ernesto Oglivie (16.0 points and 7.3 rebounds) listed as questionable due to injury. They could be adding point guard Avry Holmes, who in the Venezuelan and Mexican leagues averaged 16.8 and 12.9 points per game, respectively.

Halcones de Xalapa [HAL] vs. Nacional [NAC]

Tuesday, March 5
Game 1: Montevideo (URU), Antel Arena - 21:40 local time (GMT-3)

Saturday, March 9
Game 2: Xalapa (MEX), Gimnasio Universitario - 19:10 local time (GMT-6)

Sunday, March 10*
Game 3: Xalapa (MEX), Gimnasio Universitario - 19:10 local time (GMT-6)

Both teams are flying high. Halcones (4-2) closed the Group Stage with 4 consecutive victories to claim the top spot in Group A, while Nacional (3-3) beat Quimsa to generate a triple-tie and finish second in Group B. The Mexican roster seems more loaded, but they have inferior chemistry due to their domestic league not being in season, while the South Americans have a 16-4 record in Uruguay but are coming off a pair of defeats.

[HAL]  [NAC]
 88.8 PTS 80.8 
 80.0 PTS Against 83.8 
48.9%  FG 42.5% 
 37.5% 3P 32.2% 
69.7%  FT  70.5%
 36.7 REB  41.2
19.5  AST 17.8 
 10.5 STL  7.5
 2.0 BLK 3.2 
12.7  TO  14.3

 

Players to watch
Depth and team play have been the Mexican club’s main weapons. Their roster features several key contributors, to the point that they have 6 different players averaging more than 10 points per game. Gabriel Girón leads the offense with 17.3, while Jordan Glynn (14.5 on 52 percent from beyond the arc) and Alexis Elsener (12.8 and 2.8 steals) aren’t far behind. Veteran Paul Stoll will also join the squad after representing Mexico in the first window of the 2025 FIBA AmeriCup Qualifiers.

Eric Anderson (14.5 points and 10.2 rebounds) and Franco Giorgetti (11.0 points) are Nacional’s top scorers after an injury to leading man Michael Smith (18.2), while Gastón Semiglia (10.7) is their best domestic producer. Nacional’s chances will heavily depend on their bench. Shooting guard Jordan Mathews, arriving from the Polish league, has been added to the roster.

Quimsa [QSA] vs. Real Estelí [EST]

Wednesday, March 6
Game 1: Managua (NCA), Polideportivo Alexis Argüello - 19:10 local time (GMT-6)

Sunday, March 10
Game 2: Santiago del Estero (ARG), Estadio Ciudad - 20:40 local time (GMT-3)

Monday, March 11*
Game 3: Santiago del Estero (ARG), Estadio Ciudad - 20:40 local time (GMT-3)

These teams will match up in the same instance for second consecutive year. Last season, Quimsa looked far superior and swept the series in 2 games, but this time around there is no clear favorite. The Argentinian champions are struggling and suffered 3 consecutive defeats – finishing in first place in Group B only due to point differential. Estelí has also been inconsistent lately and finished with an identical 3-3 record. In Quimsa’s favor, they have a cohesive group and real chemistry, while their opponent hasn’t been playing games and keeps adding players.

[QSA] [EST]
87.0  PTS 80.5 
 80.0 PTS Against  86.8
 44.2% FG 45.0% 
 37.6% 3P  27.6%
77.7%  FT  66.7%
 41.0 REB  37.3
 19.8 AST  17.8
 5.8 STL  6.7
 2.3 BLK  3.3
 11.8 TO  14.5

 

Players to watch
Brandon Robinson (16.0 points and 5.2 rebounds) and Juan Brussino (13.0 and 4.5 assists) are the main offensive engines, while center pívot Tayavek Gallizzi (12.0) and forward Fabián Ramirez (10.5 and 8.2 boards) contribute plenty as well. They also employ a long rotation, and guys like Emiliano Basabe, Bruno Sansimoni and Sebastián Acevedo are quite capable of stepping up.

Real Estelí also has plenty of alternatives. Big man Ismael Romero (18.7 points and 9.2 rebounds), Terrell Holloway (17.0 and 4.0 assists) and Emmitt Willams (13.5 and 7.5 boards) are their most dangerous stars. Meanwhile, Tony Bishop Jr., Josué Erazo and Kalin Lucas have been registered as additions, but it’s still to be determined who they’re replacing.

Flamengo [FLA] vs. Obras [OBR]

Monday, March 4
Game 1: Buenos Aires (ARG), Estadio Obras Sanitarias - 19:10 local time (GMT-3)

Thursday, March 7
Game 2: Río de Janeiro (BRA), Maracanazinho - 20:10 local time (GMT-3)

Friday, March 8*
Game 3: Río de Janeiro (BRA), Maracanazinho - 20:10 local time (GMT-3)

A giant of the continent and former BCLA champion like Flamengo should be considered the favorite against a team like Obras that reached this instance of the tournament for the first time. Even more so with the type of season the Brazilians are having. They were the most impressive team of the Group Stage, finishing atop Group C with a 5-1 record and winning their last 4. Obras (4-2) finished behind SESI Franca in Group D and ended the Brazilians’ undefeated streak, showing they’re capable of beating anyone.

[FLA] [OBR]
 82.5 PTS  91.0
 74.8 PTS Against  85.8
41.4%  FG  46.1%
29.3 % 3P 34.0% 
71.2 % FT 73.1% 
 40.5 REB 40.0 
18.7  AST  17.2
 7.7 STL  8.7
 2.5 BLK  1.3
 10.3 TO  13.7

 

Players to watch
Gabriel Galvanini led Flamengo with 15.4 points and 7.6 rebounds, but they have as many as 9 different players that can carry the team on a given night. Devon Scott (11.8 points and 7.0 rebounds), Franco Balbi (9.8 and 4.5 assists), Didi Louzada (7.7 PTS), Gui Deodato (13.7), Martín Cuello (6.7), Scott Machado (8.0 and 5.3 AST) and even Kayo Manfio (7.7) have had great performances at both BCL Americas and Brazil’s NBB.

Andre Spight (20.4 points) did a great job during the Group Stage and his performance will be key to Obras’ chances. Team captain Pedro Barral (14.8 points and 5.3 assists) and fellow point guard Juan Pablo Venegas (13.5 points) are the club’s offensive engines, while Jeffrey Solarin (11.2) and Leandro Cerminato (10.8) loom as excellent complementary pieces.

*If needed

FIBA