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Basketball Updated: 06 Nov 2018

2016: The year in review. Garbiñe conquers Paris, Tigres dominates in Mexico and Bravo tastes glory with Chile

In a year brimming with stellar sporting events, BBVA’s ambassadors and sponsored teams excelled. The Rio Games, the Copa America Centenario, the NBA, tennis and soccer tournaments are just some of the stages in which they proved their worth.

2016 is a year remembered by top sporting achievements. Among the many athletes that signed their names in the golden book of sports, some stand out, such as Garbiñe Muguruza, with her victory at Roland Garros and her Olympic debut, Claudio Bravo, who led Chile to glory in the Copa América tournament, the Cavaliers and their first NBA title. River Plate and Tigres also added more glitter to their legend with two trophies.

Athletic feats for our eyes to feast on during the 365 days that are coming to an end. Here are some of the most noteworthy:

Claudio Bravo conquers his second Copa América in a row

In soccer, the Copa América Centenario title went to defending champions Chile. Argentina, once again, came close to succeeding. Claudio Bravo emerged as the champion’s leader, making some spectacular saves during the finals. At club level, the Chilean goalkeeper’s year was nothing short of spectacular as his team won the Spanish domestic league and King’s Cup tournaments, as well as the Club World Cup and the UEFA Supercup international tournaments. In summer he embarked on a new adventure and now defends Manchester City’s colors.

Tigres, the hottest team in the Bancomer MX Soccer League

They conquered the Opening 2015 tournament, the champion of champions title and won the Opening tournament again in 2016, after beating Club América in the penalty shootout. It was the fifth title in the Bancomer MX League for Tigres. Undoubtedly, the strongest team today and the most valuable roster in the Mexican competition, with stars such as Gignac, the French forward who has scored 44 goals in 71 games to win three titles already.

River, two new titles in 2016

A new double for the ‘millionaires' team, which has conquered 8 titles in the past three years. In 2016, River won the South American Winner’s Cup (Recopa Sudamericana) and the Argentine Cup. River owes much of its success to its coach, Marcelo Daniel Gallardo, nicknamed ‘Muñeco’ (the doll) because of his small size, who has led the team to win six titles (5 international and 1 domestic title). “I’m staying to double down,” said the coach, who's trophy tally with the club now stands at 14 (the other 8 he won as a player), the second highest in River’s history.

Boca won the super classic and sits at the top of the Argentine league

Boca Juniors might not have won any trophies in 2016, but will surely greet the new year in high spirits, after its pummeling victory over River in El Monumental, and its current position at the top of the Argentine domestic competition. Schelotto’s men sit at the top of the table with 31 points, with a three point lead over Newell’s and San Lorenzo, and 9 points ahead of River.

Durant and Ibargüen conquered Río

The Rio Olympics, the first-ever to be hosted by a South American city, were definitely the top sporting highlights of the year. Durant and Ibargüen flashed their golden smiles in Brazil. James won gold with the U.S. national basketball team, while the Colombian took gold with her best triple jump of the season (15.17 m). Also, Garbiñe and Jossimar made their first appearances at the Olympics.

The Cavaliers win their first NBA title

Individually, it was Curry’s season. But collectively, it was the Cavs that stole the show. For the first time in its 46-year history, the Cleveland franchise conquered the NBA trophy. Lebron James led the Cavs to beat the Warriors in the grueling finals series, conquering his third ring along the way. This year, after Kevin Durant shock-move to join the Oakland team, the Golden State Warriors, more than ever, sit as the clear favorite on the odds to win the 2017 NBA title.

Harden, on track to become the MVP in 2017?

A one-of-a-kind unstoppable compulsive scorer. Last season, James Harden averaged 27 points and 7.5 assists per game. Curry was voted unanimous MVP last season. This year, Harden has stepped up his game, averaging 27.5 points and over 11 assists per game, to challenge Curry’s reign. And, is better way to do so than with triple-double numbers? Harden recently passed Olajuwon as the rockets’ franchise leader in triple-doubles, with 15. A solid first step on the path to the MVP.

Garbiñe wins her first Grand Slam in Paris

Garbiñe Muguruza had a spectacular 2016. While her numbers speak loud and clear, it is her first Roland Garros that dispels any lingering doubts. The season was very special for the Spanish player, one she’ll remember forever. “Everything I’ve been through will help me become a better player,” said Caracas-born Muguruza after a year in which she also got her first taste of what it means to be part of the Olympic Games. We are certain that 2017 will bring even better things for the 23 year-old tennis player.