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Skyliners host Guaros in FIBA Intercontinental Cup

FRANKFURT (FIBA Intercontinental Cup 2016) - The latest battle of Europe and South America in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup will be waged this weekend in Germany when Fraport Skyliners host Guaros de Lara in Frankfurt.

The game pits the 2016 FIBA Europe Cup winners and 2017 Basketball Regular Season club, Skyliners, against a visiting Guaros side that prevailed in the 2016 FIBA Americas League.

European outfits have won two of the last three Intercontinental Cups. Greek side Olympiacos downed Brazilian club Pinheiros in 2013 while Rio de Janeiro team Flamengo beat Israeli giants Maccabi Tel Aviv the following year.

Brazil club Bauru hosted the two games last year and lost to Real Madrid. Breaking with recent tradition, it's a Venezuelan team that's representing the continent this time.

"This is a very special challenge for us. We assume it with the utmost seriousness and have a chance to do something great for all of the state of Lara and the whole country." - Guaros guard Heissler Guillent

"We are excited about this challenge, as an organisation, as a team," said Guaros president Jorge Hernandez. "I thank God for this opportunity to hold the name of the Venezuelan basketball up high. We assume a great responsibility."

If the German outfit has home-court advantage, the Venezuelans may have an edge in big-game experience. Several of their players have suited up for the country's national team in recent times.

Windi Graterol, Nestor Colmenares and Heissler Guillent were members of the Venezuela team that captured the FIBA Americup 2015 crown in Mexico City.

All three of those players, and Guaros big man Gregory Echenique, just competed at the Rio de Janeiro Games, which marked Venezuela's first Olympic participation since 1992.

Fraport are expected to have a terrific season, although some of their leading players from 2015 have moved on to new clubs. Among them were Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel.

The former had 12 points and 6 rebounds in the FIBA Europe Cup Final victory over Varese and the latter finished with 9 points and 6 boards. If that duo is now gone, there are still several players from the triumphant Fraport side on the roster.

Canada international Phillip Scrubb, fellow guard Quantez Robertson and center Mike Morrison were also important players for the 2015-16 Frankfurt side coached by Gordon Herbert.

One of Skyliners' new players to keep an eye on is recent signing Markel Starks, a guard.

As for Guaros, they are still flying high after last year's success in front of their own crowd. The club did have the benefit of playing all of their FIBA Americas League games on their home court.

In addition to their Olympians, Luis Bethelmy had a starring role for Guaros last season.

Guard Guillent, one of the most popular players in his homeland, says he and his teammates are champing at the bit to play in Germany.

"This is a very special challenge for us," he said. "We assume it with the utmost seriousness and have a chance to do something great for all of the state of Lara and the whole country."

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