The Colombian Liga DirecTV was decided by the tie break game in the finals series as Cimarrones de Choco defeated Guerreros de Bogota 76-78. An exciting, tense, and close game on the court was matched by an intense atmosphere in the arena, as both sets of fans filled the El Salitre Coliseum, with even the small 100 strong contingent of Choco fans making themselves heard. The crowd made itself heard from the first tip off to the final buzzer, filling the hall with bands, music, and chanting.
It has been a fitting finals series that has pitted the best two teams of the regular season together. Cimarrones de Choco won Group 2 with an 18-2 winning rate, while Guerreros de Bogota topped Group 1 with an equal record. Guerreros was defending the title it won for the first time last season, but Cimarrones clinched the victory to claim the first Colombian Liga title of its history.
Guerreros vs. Cimarrones, 76-78
Cimarrones travelled to Bogota and had to deal with a typically strong start from a Guerreros team that has become known for its hot openings this season. The hosts were looking mean at the defensive perimeter and stopping Cimarrones regularly, while at the other end Calvin Warner was gathering points from two point range. The visitors recovered during the final minutes of the first frame, but after 10 minutes the Warriors of Bogota held a 22-19 lead.
The locals in the crowd were delighted and the party atmosphere continued in the second stanza as Guerreros continued to command the scoreboard. Cimarrones struggled to find an answer and it seemed that the home team would win the deciding game. At the middle of the game the hosts held a 42-34 advantage.
With 8 points the difference, the visitors had plenty to do in the second half. Cimarrones started playing more aggressively in the offensive arc, led by Randy Hunter who was pacing the team in the third quarter. The lead was slashed to five points at the end of the third, but Guerreros still held the cards with 10 minutes to play.
The hosts looked good to hold on through the fourth frame, but Cimarrones finally snatched the lead with three minutes on the clock. Hunter was instrumental in the comeback and after taking control of the game the away team didn’t look back. The American forward got sent to the charity strip after a foray into the paint and downed 100% of his throws to extend the lead to 5 points. The hosts tried to respond bit Choco held on to make history.
Hunter was impressive for the champions, recording 24 points and 10 rebounds in a memorable double-double display. Camontae Griffin netted 16 points for the winners.
Warner paced Guerreros with his own double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Kyle LaMonte had 18 points.