Published on January 27th, 2014 | by John Lyons


Terrific Tinguiririca are the champions

Tinguiririca SF have been crowned Liga Nacional Movistar Basketball champions for the first time after a heart-stopping final against Osorno.

Osorno – The sides went into the weekend tied at 1-1 after the opening two matches in San Fernando and many pundits thought Osorno were the favourites to take the crown.

However, Tinguiririca had other ideas and pulled off two magnificent away wins to take the series 3-1. On Saturday, Tinguiririca did a demolition job on the Bulls and left more than 4,000 Osorno fans gobsmacked.

The San Fernando outfit triumphed by a whopping 87-58 margin to put themselves one step away from glory.

After that embarrassment on their home court, Osorno pulled out all the stops on Sunday to level the series and take it to a deciding fifth game in San Fernando.

It looked as though it was all going to plan when the Bulls led 47-41 at the break, but Tinguiririca upped their game in the second half and, inspired by captain Patrick Sáez, began to gain control.

With six minutes left on the clock, Tinguiririca had built a commanding 82-71 lead and it looked all over. To their credit, Osorno dug deep and took advantage of Venezuelan Tulio Cobos and American Darrien Mack fouling out.

However, Sáez led from the front with his 27 points and kept a cool head as Tinguiririca just managed to hold onto their lead in the closing stages, triumphing 90-88.

After back-to-back away wins, no-one could argue that jubilant Tinguiririca didn´t deserve to join Español de Talca, two, and Deportes Castro on the winners´ roll.

Skipper Sáez said: “We had to turn the series around in front of 5,000 fans. We weren´t going to gift them anything. They thought they were playing against novices and we ruined their party.”

Tinguiririca coach Pablo Ares said: “It has been a tough year and I´ve had a lot of support from my family. I haven´t enjoyed a championship like this for a long time.”

Once the celebrations die down, Tinguiririca can look forward to representing Chile in the Liga Sudamericana.

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