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ARG/BRA/COL - South American League for Clubs begins today:

CUCUTA (South American League for Clubs) - The 13º edition of the South American League for Clubs begins today with group A to be played in Cucuta, Norte de Santander, Colombia. The participating clubs are Cucutá-Norte, Obras Sanitarias (Argentina), Flamengo Río de Janeiro (Brazil) and Cocodrilos de Caracas (Venezuela).

Cucutá-Norte won the Colombian Basketball Federation Invitational Cup led by Edgard Moreno and Monty Wilson. Both players return to the roster that also includes key figures like Herberth Bayona, Enielsen Guevara, Norbey Aragón, Curtis Williams, Jhon Jairo Hernández, Eleuterio Renteira, Eduardo Torres, Juan Márquez, Alvaro Contreras and Julio Ordoñez. The head coach is Tomás Díaz Pérez who replaces Puerto Rican coach Julio Toro.

Despite being out of international competition for two decades, Obras Sanitarias has a rich history being the only team from Argentina to win a World Club Championship. The team from Buenos Aires won the 1983 William Jones Intercontinental Cup by beating Italian club Jollycolombani Cantú.

Obras qualified for this tournament after being the runner up in the Super 8 Tournament held in their court. The team from Buenos Aires fell to Regatas Corrientes who is the defending champion of the South American League for Clubs.

The team is coached by Carlos Duro who has multiples titles in international competitions. The roster includes Lázaro Borrell Hernández, Omar Cantón, Daniel Hernán Chaher, Gabriel Eduardo Cocha, Cristian Gabriel Cortés, Tyler Thomas Field, Fernando Martina, Erron James Maxey, Sergio Ariel Ravina, Patricio Luis Rodríguez and Fernando Ariel Titarelli.

Flamengo Río de Janeiro is one of the most powerful teams in Brazil and was the runner up in the 2008 South American League for Clubs. The Brazilian champion has many key players from the national team including Marcelinho Machado and former NBA center Rafael "Baby" Araujo. The other players in the roster are Duda Machado, Helio da Costa Lima, Fernando Martins Alvim, Frederico Lima, Wagner Carvalho, Rafael Paulo de Lara, Jefferson Andrade, Fernando Coloneze, Daniel Fonseca, Marcellus Sarmento and Julio Cesar Pereira.

During the 2008/2009 edition of the FIBA Americas League Flamengo finished in second place of Group C because of Goal Average to the later crowned champion, Universo/BRB.

Cocodrilos de Caracas enter this tournament as champions of the Venezuelan Professional League. The team coached by Nestor Salazar has imports Kevin Freeman and Eddie Elisma, both with experience in Venezuelan and International competitions. Juan Herrera Keving Palacios, Kenji Urdaneta, Windi Graterol, Luis Bethelmy, Jesús Centeno, Vladimir Saavedra, Henry Páez, Boris Urbina and Derson Santos complete the rosters.

The first day of group A has Flamengo against Cocodrilos at 18:45 local time and then at 20:45 Obras Sanitarias play the host Cucuta-Norte. The first phase of this group ends on February 19. The live stats will be available on

Group B will be played from February 24-26 in Santiago del Estero, Argentina where the participants are Quimsa, Regatas Corrientes (defending champion), La Salle (Bolivia) and Minas Tenis (Brazil). The two best teams per group enter the final to be played from March 10-12 in a country to be determined later.

The winner of the 2009 South American League for Clubs qualifies for the 2009/2010 FIBA Americas League. One of the attractions in the 2009/2010 FIBA Americas League is two berths in the 2010 FIBA World Club Championship.


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