Flamengo and Spurs will give everything they've got
RÍO DE JANEIRO – The second Semi-Finals of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup takes us to the clash between Brazil's Flamengo and the Austin Spurs (United States). The duel is set to begin at 9:00 PM (local game time) in Carioca Arena, after the match between Greece’s AEK and Argentina’s San Lorenzo.
Flamengo will try to validate their rich history and home team condition against the NBA G League’s champions. However, they will not be able to let their guard down against the Austin side, who, like every good American team, has great individual work and physical strength.
Right now, the Brazilians seem to have dominated their local league, with a five-victory streak that place them third in the tournament's standings table, with a 16-4 record. Their good moment comes at the perfect timing to face this international commitment. Already in 2014, they raised the championship's trophy, something that they’ll never forget, and even more so when that same year they won the state championship, the national championship, and Liga de las Américas.
“We're very happy to be a part of another Intercontinental Cup and have the opportunity to play against other great teams in the world. This format has everything it needs to be successful and grow in the following years. Flamengo are very proud and honored to play in this championship, and even more so in Rio de Janeiro. We’ll prepare the best we can, and we’ll try to win that title with all our strength because, without a doubt, this is the most important championship in which we’ll participate this season,” assured coach Gustavo de Conti.
To reach the objective, the Brazilians have the experience of Center Anderson Varejão, Olivinha, and Rafael Mineiro as Forwards. The Small Forwards will be scorer Marquinhos, Jhonatan Dos Santos and David Nesbitt, and the lead will be under the responsibility of Deryk Ramos, Argentine Franco Balbi and Davi Rossetto.
The hosts seem to have the tools to not let anyone down: speed, long-distance throws, and inside game.
As for the Spurs, things haven’t been going too well in their local competition this season. They've had ups and downs and that's reflected in their 16-win and 20-loss record, that keeps them ninth in the Western Conference and third in the Southwestern Division.
The men led by former player Blake Ahearn have lost five of their last eight encounters, but in a short tournament like the Intercontinental Cup anything can happen and even more so when there's talent and experience.
Small Forward Josh Huestis, Puerto Rican Shooting Guard John Holland and Center Dejuan Blair have NBA experience. Point Guard Travis Rice leads the squad in points (16.4) and assists (7.1), while the Ghana native Center, Amida Brimah, is a guaranteed defense, with an average of 3.2 blocks in the league, and 7.9 rebounds. Jordan Green and Travis Bader are other names that appear in the roster.
“As last year’s G League champions, it's an honor for us to participate. I also believe that this experience playing against European and South American teams will be important for our development. It's a style of basketball that's different to what we're used to,” Petar Bozic, the team’s coaching assistant, shared with website Eurohoops. In his time as player he used to be an important asset for Serbian club KK Partizan, from Belgrade.
The winner of this showdown will move on to dispute the championship title on the 17th against the winner of the clash between AEK and San Lorenzo. The losing side will have to be satisfied with the game for the third place, that same day.