Group A and Group B in the 2014 Centrobasket have wrapped and the semi-final stage of the competition has been set. The teams progressing to the final four are Mexico and Puerto Rico from the first group and Dominican Republic and Cuba from the second.
El Salvador vs. U.S. Virgin Islands, 70-105
The U.S. Virgin Islands may have fell at the group stage, but they crushed fellow eliminated nation El Salvador to end Group A on a high to finish in third with a 2-2 record. The islanders never looked troubled as they swept aside an El Salvador that has looked out of its depth a number of times during the first five days of the 2014 Centrobasket tournament, the team ultimately finished last with a 0-4 record.
The U.S. Virgin Islands overwhelmed their opponents in every frame, starting the game with a crushing 32-13 run to claim the first quarter. In the second the players never let up and poured in another 30 points while holding El Salvador to 19 for a 62-34 halftime lead. A 25-16 third quarter killed any fight El Salvador had left, and despite the Virgin Islands losing the final frame, the damage had long been done.
Puerto Rico vs. Mexico, 65-75
Both teams eased into the semi-final stage, but it was Mexico that took the spoils in the contest to decide who would top Group A. The game would also settle which team finished the group stage undefeated, and that accolade went to the tournament hosts Mexico.
Puerto Rico took the initiative in a competitive first quarter and managed to snatch a 19-15 lead at the end of the 10 minutes. A massive second quarter followed for the visitors as they shocked the home fans with another run that gave them a big lead at halftime. In fact, as the midway buzzer sounded, Puerto Rico was winning the game 35-20. Mexico responded in the third quarter with powerful scoring, managing to get back into the game before charging down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
Jorge Gutierrez topped the Mexican effort with 24 points, while Gustavo Ayon secured 18 points.
Jose Juan Barea also secured 24 points for the losing Puerto Rico team, with Filiberto Rivera securing 13 points.
Dominican Republic vs. Cuba, 76-72
In a game that would decide who would top Group B, the Dominican Republic emerged victorious over Cuba and finished the Group B with a 100% record. Despite the loss, Cuba finished second with a 3-1 record and join the Dominicans in the semi-final of the 2014 Centrobasket competition.
Cuba looked the better of the two teams in a solid first quarter that saw both teams get plenty of buckets, with the score ending 20-24 in favour of the Cubans. The Dominican Republic hit back in the second frame and won the period 17-14 to make it a one point game at halftime (37-38). Another tight stanza followed as the teams locked through the third quarter, but in the final 10 minutes the Dominicans rallied to 22-16 to win the 4th and the game.
Eloy Vargas paced the winners with 13 points, with Elpidio Fortuna and Victor Liz taking 12 each.
William Granda took a game high 16 points for Cuba, while Jasul Rivero and Osmel Oliva scored 12 apiece.
Panama vs. Jamaica, 62-55
Panama finished the group stage with a win, pushing its record to 2-2 in third place, not enough to book a place in the next round. Jamaica lost the dead rubber contest and finished Group B with a 1-3 losing record in fourth place.