GUADALAJARA (FIBA Americas League) - Hosts Osos de Jalisco of Mexico didn't finish first in Group A but nevertheless advanced to the FIBA Americas League Semi-Finals after beating Argentinians
Lanus on Sunday.
With the top two sides in each of the three Preliminary Round pools progressing, Osos went into their last Group A game needing a comprehensive victory to seal first place.
They almost got it.
Led by Demond Allen, who had 23 points, Osos went on top by 13 in the fourth quarter but Lanus battled back and only lost 84-78, thus securing first place themselves.
Osos de Jalisco had to settle for second and Pinheiros of Brazil came in third.
All three sides won two of three games, with Estrellas Orientales losing three times.
Pinheiros may have come off worst in the tie-breaker that determined the final order, yet they have a chance to advance as one of the two best third-place teams.
Group B action gets underway this weekend and Group C tips is to be played 22-24 February.
Lanus went into the sixth edition of the FIBA Americas League full of confidence and hoping to give Argentina another winner in the competition.
Argentinian clubs Penarol (twice) and Regatas Corrientes had captured three of the first five titles.
"Everyone knows that defense wins games and titles," Lanus star Robert Battle had said.
"That will always be key.
William McFarlan poured in 20 points as Lanus prevailed in their opener on Friday against Pinheiros, 86-74.
They followed that up with a 107-75 rout of Estrellas Orientales.
Nicolas Laprovittola's 16 points led a balanced scoring attack for the winners.
Osos, who won 118-94 on Friday over the Venezuelans, slumped to an 84-75 setback to Pinheiros on Day 2.
Pinheiros rolled to a 121-70 win in their last game against Estrellas Orientales.