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FIBA launches new pan-American competition BCL Americas

MIES (Switzerland) - Basketball in the Americas achieved a new level of representation and quality in 2019 when FIBA officially launched the Basketball Champions League Americas league in an iconic moment for the world sport.

The competition was founded on September 24, 2019 deriving its name and branding from the Basketball Champions League in Europe, which started with the 2016-17 season. The BCL Americas took over from Liga de las Americas (FIBA Americas League) as the highest tier league on the continent. But BCL Americas is not its successor but rather a new product in FIBA's development project.

Twelve clubs from six countries participated in the first season in 2019-20, having qualified through their domestic leagues. The original BCLA format featured four groups of three teams each with the top two from each group advancing to the Quarter-Finals for a best-of-three series. The Semi-Finals and Final were also to be decided in a best-of-three format.

The COVID pandemic put the 2019-20 season on hold after two rounds of games in the Semi-Finals. Brazilian powers Flamengo had already swept Instituto of Argentina 2-0 while the Argentina teams Quimsa and San Lorenzo split the first two games and had to wait from March 12 to October 27, 2020 for the deciding Game 3, which Quimsa won. Quimsa then captured the inaugural championship after knocking off Flamengo 92-86 in a one-game Final - the format being changed due to COVID measures.

The title earned Quimsa a spot in the 2021 FIBA Intercontinental Cup, which they lost to BCL champions San Pablo Burgos of Spain.

COVID restrictions changed the Playoffs for the 2020-21 season, instituting instead a Final Eight after the group stage. In the Final, Flamengo ended up knocking off host club Real Esteli of Nicaragua 84-80.

BCL Americas retained the format for the 2021-22 season and Brazilian side Sao Paulo claimed the trophy after they defeated Bigua of Uruguay 98-84 in the Final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Each of the three BCL Americas seasons have seen 12 teams in the competition with clubs from 10 different counties having participated in the competition.