Franca withstood the onslaught from Instituto and won the first game of the Finals
FRANCA (DIRECTV Liga Sudamericana 2018) - Franca of Brazil showed all its offensive power throughout the match, but it was the last two defenses of the match that allowed the team to capture a 92-90 win over Instituto de Cordoba, in the first game of the DIRECTV Liga Sudamericana Final, which took place in the Pedrocao gym.
First it was Lucas Silva who prevented the tie by giving a block to Leandro García Morales when he attacked the basket with 3.4 seconds remaining on the clock and then, the pressure on the perimeter, prevented the Uruguayan from taking a comfortable shot of three in the final possession of the game.
The game showed great intensity and a high level of execution by the two teams. The rotation of the ball was paramount for both: Franca had 17 assists and eight losses, while the Instituto’s ratio was 20 and five.
The two launched over 50% in field goals (Franca 63-33 and Institute 68-35) and over 80% in free throws (11-10 and 11-9, respectively), but the paulistas holed 16 triples in 32 pitches and 11 of 28 of the visitors. That great efficiency from long distance allowed them to go to halftime with the blackboard in their favor 54-44. In those first 20 minutes of the match they made 11 of 18 shots from the third dimension.
Despite the difference, the troop of Facundo Müller did not let down his guard and in the third quarter recovered with a tactical change, that took the ball to the low post for Sam Clancy and Pablo Espinoza to execute. The strategy paid off but a triple by Marcos Silva "Didi" in the second final of that period, gave the hosts a bit of a breather by placing the score 74-68.
In the last quarter, the Argentines opened by defending in the zone and it worked for them for about five minutes until Rafael Hettsheimeir managed five consecutive points. Then, Didi holed another three-pointer that gave the home team an 89-78 advantage with three and a half minutes to play.
Didi, coming from the bench, led Franca's offense with 21 points and five three-pointers.
The substitutes of coach Helinho Rubens contributed 50 points for the winning cause, 31 of them in the first half.
For Córdoba, García Morales finished with 19 points, Luciano Gonzalez added 17 and Facundo Piñero 15.
The next match of the DIRECTV Liga Sudamericana Final will be on December 13th at the Ángel Sandrín stadium in Córdob.
With a win, Franca would celebrate with the Horacio Muratore Cup. If Instituto captures the win, we would then go a definite third encounter to be played the next day on the same court.
The champion of the DIRECTV Liga Sudamericana 2018 will win a spot at DIRECTV Ligas de las Américas 2019.