AEK get Intercontinental Cup invite

AEK get Intercontinental Cup invite

After winning the Basketball Champions League last season, AEK have been invited to participate in the 2019 FIBA Intercontinental Cup next month in Rio de Janeiro…

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FIBA have announced that AEK will represent Europe at the 2019 FIBA International Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next month.

AEK were invited to the tournament after the Enosi triumphed in the Basketball Champions League last season after a thrilling Final Four on home court.

Joining AEK in Rio de Janeiro will be hosts Flamengo as well as NBA G League Champions the Austin Spurs and FIBA Americas League winners San Lorenzo.

FIBA confirmed that the tournament, which celebrates champions from around the globe, has been expanded to a Final Four format for this year – an increase of two clubs after six straight seasons of pitting the FIBA Americas League Champion against the FIBA European Champion.

In fact, this is the first-ever edition of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup to feature the reigning champions of the NBA G League, Basketball Champions League and FIBA Americas League.

The semifinal draw for the competition paired AEK with San Lorenzo in one half of the semifinals while the Austin Spurs will face Flamengo in the other semifinal.

Should AEK beat San Lorenzo, the Enosi will advance to the Final in a winner-take-all showdown.

The tournament, which takes place between 15 February through to 17 February, is scheduled to take place at Rio de Janeiro’s Carioca Arena 1 – one of the venues that was constructed for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

FIBA confirmed the details of the continental celebration in an official press release posted on the governing body’s official website:

“The Austin Spurs, the 2018 NBA G League champions, will join the reigning title holders of the Basketball Champions League, AEK (Greece), and of the DIRECTV Liga de las Americas, San Lorenzo de Almagro (Argentina), at the FIBA Intercontinental Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from February 15-17.

The Austin Spurs, the 2018 NBA G League champions, will join the reigning title holders of the Basketball Champions League, AEK (Greece), and of the DIRECTV Liga de las Americas, San Lorenzo de Almagro (Argentina), at the FIBA Intercontinental Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from February 15-17.

They will be joined by tournament hosts Flamengo, who are the last Brazilian team to win the DIRECTV Liga de las Americas and FIBA Intercontinental Cup in the same year (in 2014) and are five-time champions of Novo Basquete Brazil (NBB).

The competition will take place at Carioca 1 Arena, the iconic venue that hosted the Olympic Basketball Tournament during the Rio 2016 Games. It will be played in a Final Four format, with two Semi-Finals on February 15, followed by a 3rd-Place Game and Final two days later.

This is the first-ever edition of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup to feature the reigning champions of the NBA G League, Basketball Champions League and DIRECTV Liga de las Americas.

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis said: “We’re excited to bring the FIBA Intercontinental Cup back to the Americas and hold this edition in Rio’s excellent Olympic basketball venue, which was the site of so many great moments during the 2016 Games. The champions of the DIRECTV Liga de las Americas and of the Basketball Champions League will do battle here and look to create their own lasting memories. I also wish to express our gratitude to the city of Rio, the Brazilian Basketball Federation (CBB), the Liga Nacional de Basquete (LNB) and the host club Flamengo for their collaboration.”

“This year we are thrilled to confirm the growing global field of teams that will compete at next month’s FIBA InterContinental Cup. The addition of the NBA G League champions to the FIBA Intercontinental Cup is further proof of the great collaboration that FIBA enjoys with the NBA across a wide range of joint initiatives.”

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum said: “Having the NBA G League’s Austin Spurs play in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup represents a fantastic opportunity – not only for the players to further showcase their NBA-caliber skills but for the league itself to be represented on the international stage.

“We’re looking so forward to the event in February and thank our partners at FIBA for this first-of-its-kind collaboration.”

The last FIBA Intercontinental Cup, held in San Cristobal de la Laguna, Tenerife, in September 2017, saw Basketball Champions League winners Iberostar Tenerife (Spain) take a hard-fought 76-71 win over DIRECTV Liga de las Americas champions Guaros de Lara (Venezuela).”

GOOD OMEN FOR AEK

AEK will become the third Greek club to participate in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup following in the footsteps of Panathinaikos (1996) and Olympiacos (2013).

Although the format for the 2019 edition is slightly different than the format Panathinaikos and Olympiacos faced during their only appearances, AEK might take comfort in the strong Greek history in the competition’s 28-year history.

After winning the 1995/1996 FIBA European League, Panathinaikos faced Argentina’s Olimpia Basketball Club, who were the winners of the 1996 edition of the FIBA South American League.

In what was a best-of-three format played in Rosaria, Argentina and Athens, Greece, Panathinaikos were crowned intercontinental champions after a 2-1 series defeat of their Argentine adversaries.

After a 17-year hiatus, the tournament was reinstated in 2013 with winners of the 2012/2013 EuroLeague, Olympiacos, ultimately thrashing the winners of the  2013 FIBA Americas League, Pinheiros Sky by a two-leg aggregate score of 167-139.

2019 FIBA INTERCONTINENTAL CUP

AEK (Greece)

-    Winners of the 2017/2018 Basketball Champions League

-    First Appearance

Austin Spurs (United States)

-    Winners of the 2017/2018 NBA G League

-    First Appearance

Flamengo (Brazil)

-    Tournament Hosts

-    Second Appearance (Champions, 2014)

San Lorenzo (Argentina)

-    Winners of the 2017/2018 NBA G League

-    First Appearance

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Semifinals (15/02)

San Lorenzo vs. AEK

Flamengo vs. Austin Spurs

3rd Place (21/02)

Semifinal Loser 1 vs. Semifinal Loser 2

Final (21/02)

Semifinal Winner 1 vs. Semifinal Winner 2


 

by Peter Katsiris

Image Source: to10.gr

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