Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mexico wins 2013 FIBA Americas title (Highlights VIDEO)

They weren't even supposed to be in the tournament in the first place, but Mexico managed to buck the odds and go the distance, trouncing Puerto Rico 91-89 to become champions of the 2013 FIBA Americas tourney, Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) at the Polidero de Caracas in Caracas, Venezuela.

Mexico wins 2013 FIBA Americas title (Highlights VIDEO)

Mexico only qualified as a late replacement for a banned Panama squad, but they proved their worth late in a tightly-contested championship match.

With the game tied at 88-all, Puerto Rico's Juan Jose Barea missed a three-pointer, which led to a foul by John Holland on the rebound. That sent Lorenzo Mata to the line, and the big man dutifully nailed the two charities, to put Mexico up 90-88.

On the other end though, Mata fouled Daniel Santiago, but he was unable to make Mexico play, eking out only a split at the line, 90-89, with 33.5 seconds left.

Mexico looked to put the game away, only for Renaldo Balkman to come up with a steal, opening the door for Puerto Rico to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. However, Carlos Arroyo issued a bad pass that gave the ball right back.

Forced to foul to stop the clock, Puerto Rico put Paul Stoll on the line with 6.8 seconds to go, where he managed just one connection, 91-89.

Without any timeouts left, Puerto Rico pushed the ball up the court, but Alexander Galindo's attempt at a game-winning triple missed, allowing Mexico to escape with the win.

Shooting guard Jovan Harris led Mexico with 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting, while Atlanta Hawk Gustavo Ayon produced a double-double of 20 points and 16 rebounds. Lorenzo Mata added another double-double with 14 markers and 10 boards.

The backcourt of Puerto Rico came up big anew, as Carlos Arroyo notched 23 markers, while Jose Juan Barea tallied 20, the two combining for seven assists and four steals, but Arroyo's late turnover was just too much to come back from. Renaldo Balkman produced 14 points, five boards, and two steals.

MYTHICAL FIVE: Gustavo Ayon (Mexico), Facundo Campazzo (Argentina), Jose Juan Barea (Puerto Rico), Renaldo Balkman (Puerto Rico) and Luis Scola (Argentina)

Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic will all represent the Americas region in the 2014 FIBA World Cup.



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