Liga de las Americas defending champions Guaros de Lara have been crowned 2016 FIBA Intercontinental Cup champions, defeating Fraport Skyliners 74-69.
The Venezuelan club traveled to Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt for Sunday’s one-off game, where they were greeted by a sell-out audience of 5,002 at Fraport Arena, the home of FIBA Europe Cup reigning champions and 2017 Basketball Champions League Regular Season participants Fraport Skyliners.
Undeterred by the partisan crowd in attendance, it was Guaros de Lara moving into the early lead, taking a 19-16 buffer at the end of the opening frame.
However, in the second quarter the visitors threatened to become derailed, a 13-0 run from the home team late in the half seeing Guaros de Lara trailing 39-32 at half-time.
However, they wasted little time at coming back into the game following the break, scoring the first five points of the second half to set up a neck-and-neck race for the remainder of the afternoon.
Their break would finally come with under a minute to play, when a Zachary Graham lay-up was followed by a Heissler Guillent three, opening a six-point buffer (70-64) that proved too much for the Skyliners to pull back, despite twice coming within a basket of tying it up.
Graham was the worthy recipient of MVP honours, scoring a game-high 19 points.
The victory sees the Cup returning to the Americas following a one-year hiatus, with Spanish club Real Madrid winning the 2015 edition against Brazilian club Bauru.
Guaros de Lara’s victory marks the first in the history of the competition by a Venezuelan club.