Venezuela takes SAB Championship Gold
Host nation Venezuela won the South American Championships with a 74-65 win over defending champs Argentina in a game between the tournaments two undefeated teams. The Venezuelans had home court advantage and used it to drive to success over an Argentina team stripped of some of its star names. Argentina was going for its 14th gold medal in the competition, but instead it was Venezuela who tasted success with its second title, the first coming way back in 1991.
It started well for Argentina as the players managed to keep the partisan home crowd quiet with a solid first quarter. After 10 minutes on the board the Blue and Whites had opened a small 14-16 lead. Venezuela did well in the second quarter to stay with the visitors as the Argentines looked like opening a big lead on several occasions. Instead, the away team had to make do with a slender 29-31 lead at the halftime buzzer. The hosts finally found a rhythm at both perimeters and won the third quarter with solid scoring (19 points), while restricting Argentina to just 11 points. An impressive third stanza had given Venezuela a 48-42 lead after 30 minutes of play. In the fourth quarter the home team exploded and poured in 26 points to make it a comfortable win going down the stretch.
Greivis Vasquez sent home a game high 24 points for Venezuela on his way to the MVP, while Nestor Colmenares was good for 13 points.
Selem Safar hit 16 points for the dethroned Argentines.
Brazil ousts Uruguay for Bronze
As well as the Gold Medal Final, fans in Venezuela were treated to the 3rd/4th place game between Brazil and Uruguay. The Brazilians are the most decorated team in the history of the South American Championships with 18 titles, but this year it was not to be. However, a 66-61 victory over Uruguay to tie up third place served as consolation.
In a close first quarter the teams fought hard to take the lead, but it was the Brazilians who emerged after 10 minutes with an 18-17 advantage. In the second frame they pulled further ahead with an 18-12 burst that left the scoreboard reading 36-29 at halftime. Brazil increased the deficit throughout the third quarter and heading into the final stanza it was a 10 point game, with the score at 57-47. That was enough to see off Uruguay and consign the team to fourth place.
Vitor Benite paced the winners with 16 points, while Rafael Hettsheimer secured 14 points.
Bruno Fitipaldo was the game high scorer with 26 for Uruguay.
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