After taking a one-day break, play resumed as the second round of FIBA Americas 2013 went on its first day. From the get-go, the disparity in talent among the competing teams was apparent, but it wasn't until the final two games that things became exciting.
J.J. Barea, shown here in a Mavericks uniform in 2011, is expected to provide leadership to the Puerto Rico national team in the 2013 FIBA Americas championship.
Game 1: Dominican Republic 78, Jamaica 60
Few people expected Jamaica to make it this far in the tournament. But with Brazil's disappointing showing in the first round of eliminations, Jamaica pounced upon a rare opportunity to make a mark in the tournament. Unfortunately, they were matched up against a Dominican Republic team that, while uneven performance-wise, was much more talented across the board.
Dominican Republic started the game strong, winning the first quarter 17-11. Jamaica quickly fell victim to Dominicana's stingy defense, turning over the ball for a total of 11 times in the game, and gave up a 13-point deficit at the half. Although Jamaica kept the game tight in the third quarter, Jack Martinez's re-entry in the fourth period renewed Domincana's energy, and the winners coasted the rest of the way.
Dominican Republic was led by James Feldeina's 22 points, many of which were scored in the pivotal first-quarter run that gave them the lead for good. Jamaica was spearheaded by Akeem Scott, who scored 21 points on 3-of-3 shooting from the outside.
Game 2: Canada 89, Mexico 67
Canada marched into the second round with a 2-1 record, winning over Puerto Rico and Brazil. Mexico, on the other hand, dominated both Venezuela and Paraguay for a similar record. When Canada and Mexico met, many expected a slam-bang affair. However, a fourth-quarter Canada run proved to be too much for the Mexican defense.
For the most part of the first half, Canada kept the lead behind the shooting hands of Cory Joseph and Brady Heslip and even widened the gap at the half, thanks to Andy Rautins, Andrew Nicholson, and Tristan Thompson. Unfazed, Mexico turned to Orlando Mendez and Atlanta Hawk Gustavo Ayon in the third quarter, reducing the Canadians' lead to just two at the quarter break, 58-60. The fourth quarter was an Andy Rautins show as the son of the legendary coach Leo Rautins scored 9 straight points, sparking a 29-9 rally that clinched the game for the North Americans.
The young Heslip led the way for Canada with 21 points, followed by Rautins with 19. Mexico was able to garner 23 points from Mendez and 19 from Ayon, but only four other players were able to score.
Game 3: Puerto Rico 94, Argentina 80
In the penultimate game of the night, leaders Puerto Rico battled from an early deficit to emerge victorious against an Argentina team that had been reduced to ordinariness. Puerto Rico swept all of its first round games by an average of 14 points, including a 27-point rout of Uruguay; Argentina, missing vital cog Manu Ginobili, has struggled with its offense against tough teams like Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
Argentina started out strong behind Luis Scola's inside incursions, leading Puerto Rico 23-14 at the end of the first quarter. Puerto Rico, thanks to, Alex Galindo's three triples, closed the gap to just five after the first 20 minutes of action. Renaldo Balkman then picked up where Galindo left off, scoring 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting, en route to a 70-62 advantage. Argentina made things exciting as they pulled to within one, on a Scola basket. Carlos Arroyo, J.J. Barea, and Larry Ayuso then took over the game to pull away from their continental rivals.
Renaldo Balkman, who did not choke in the fourth quarter, led Puerto Rico in scoring with 23. Barea, Ayuso, and Galindo, along with John Holland, all scored in double figures. While Scola topscored with 23 for Argentina, he turned the ball over thrice.
Game 4: Venezuela 70, Uruguay 64
The Venezuelans made the most of their homecourt advantage as they turned back Uruguay in a low-scoring contest. Uruguay had only two wins in the first round, against Brazil and Jamaica, and the Brazil game had been invalidated going into the second round. Venezuela also had just one win in the first round; it was enough for them to advance despite missing the services of Greivis Vasquez and Gregory Echenique.
Venezuela started out like a house on fire, scattering 35 points in the first half to Uruguay's 26. Uruguay then responded with a 21-point burst behind Nicolas Mazzarino's scorching shooting from three-point land, aided by Esteban Batista's steadying presence. Uruguay was able to keep it close, but were not able to seize the lead. They were also hurt by 16 turnovers, a lot of which came in the first half; the hole was simply too deep to come up from.
Venezuela was led by Rafael Perez's 14 points; forward Donta Smith contributed 9 points and 8 rebounds in the win. Mazzarino and Batisto each contributed 18 and 17 points, respectively, in a losing effort for Uruguay.
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