Brazilian party in Spain: Sao Paulo storm into the Final
TENERIFE (Spain) - Sao Paulo reached the Final of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup after defeating the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 91-70 in the first Semi-Final in Tenerife.
The winners of the BCL Americas used all of their experience to punish the youthful team of the NBA G League title holders and put the game out of their reach already before halftime.
Turning point: It was a six-point game at the end of the first quarter, but the start of the second was all about the Brazilian team. They held the Vipers scoreless for the first four minutes of the second period, getting a 9-0 run to go up by 15 in a hurry.
There was no coming back from that difference for the NBA G League champs. Any time they made a run, Elinho, Marquinhos, Malcolm Miller and Corderro Bennett pulled the handbrake to slow the pace down and stay in front. The largest lead was 68-38 late in the third quarter.
Game hero: We could go with Miller's 24 points on five threes, we could go with Elinho's 10 assists and 4 steals, but instead, we'll give this one to Tulio Da Silva. The big guy was on a pogo stick all game long, getting his double-double before the halftime, finishing with 19 points, 15 rebounds and 3 steals.
😤 Tulio Da Silva fills it up with a double-double at halftime (11pts & 11reb)! #IntercontinentalCup I SPFCBasquetebol pic.twitter.com/oL5UXNGvWH— FIBA Intercontinental Cup (@FIBAIC) February 10, 2023
Stats don't lie: There are all kinds of stats, basic and advanced, but sometimes, it's just about who makes more shots. Sao Paulo had 49-42-83 percent shooting splits, way above Rio Grande Valley's 40-23-44 from the field, the three-point line and the free throws, respectively.
Bottom line: Rio Grande Valley will be in action first on Sunday, playing the Third Place Game at 16:00 local time (GMT). Coach Kevin Burleson has a task of avoiding history repeating - the last time this event was in Tenerife, in 2020, the Vipers finished fourth after losing both of their games. Shawn Occeus had 17 in a losing effort.
Sao Paulo are writing a new page of their history. For such a young club that has only recently joined the top division of the Brazilian League, winning the BCL Americas and reaching the Final of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup in a matter of less than a year is a gigantic success.
Has Elinho ever thrown a pass that wasn't no-look? 👀#IntercontinentalCup I @SPFCBasquetebol pic.twitter.com/37AaEwdonf— FIBA Intercontinental Cup (@FIBAIC) February 10, 2023
They don't want to stop there, though. Keep an eye on Elinho, Tulio, Miller and Marquinhos in the championship game, too.