It was a huge and exciting victory for the dark horses of the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship, Mexico. The Mexicans defeated their Puerto Rican opponents, 91-89. This win was the final chapter in the “Cinderella story” that Team Mexico played out in this competition. It’s amazing to think that Mexico was just a replacement addition to the tournament, filling in the spot of Panama which was banned from participating in the event. Somehow, through solid effort, teamwork and great execution Mexico has prevailed as the overall champions of the continent.
Argentina downed the Dominican Republic by a 10-point margin, 103-93, to come away as the bronze medalists of the tournament. All four teams mentioned have already secured entrance to the 2014 FIBA World Cup, which will be held in Spain next year.
Argentina vs. Dominican Republic, 103:93
Argentina’s Facundo Campazzo went ballistic and exploded for 31 points. Half of his scoring came from beyond the three-point arc, he knocked down five of his six attempts from downtown. He did not just take matters into his own hands, but also made sure that his teammates were involved in the assault as he finished with 11 assists. Luis Scola, the team’s main scorer for most of the tournament, delivered once again with 23 points and nine rebounds. Juan Gutierrez, Selem Safar and Marcos Delia were the three other members of the Argentinian team who managed to finish the night with double-digit scoring.
The game was close throughout the first three quarters. Argentina was only able to really pull away from the Dominican Republic when Scola and Gutierrez pounded the ball in the paint, Campazzo made some key penetration attempts. This allowed Argentina to form a 10-point lead, 93:83. Argentina then held on to their margin until the dying minutes of the final frame and thus securing their spot at the podium.
The 17-point, 18-rebound performance of Jack Michael Martinez for the Dominican Republic was not enough of anchor to push for a win. Edgar Sosa led the team’s scoring effort with 20 points.
Mexico vs. Puerto Rico, 91:89
Mexico was once again led by their star big man and NBA forward, Gustavo Ayon, who had a massive double-double with 20 points and 16 rebounds. His dominant presence in the paint was a key factor in Mexico’s overall effort in the victory. Ayon was awarded as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and he joins a “Mythical Five” of Jose Juan Barea (Puerto Rico), Renaldo Balkman (Puerto Rico), Facundo Campazzo (Argentina) and Luis Scola (Argentina)
It was a tightly contested game, with both teams gaining the lead in more than one junction in the match. Things all boiled down to when they were all tied up at 88-all. Mexico’s Lorenzo Mata was sent to the free-throw line and put his team up by two, 90:88. On the other end of the floor, Mata fouled Daniel Santiago split his free-throw shots, keeping a one-point deficit, 90-89. As time was running out, Puerto Rico was forced to foul Paul Stoll, who ended up only converting one of his shots from the charity stripe, 91-89. Puerto Rico’s last chance was a three-pointer launched by Alexander Gallindo, which unfortunately for them rimmed out.
Carlos Arroyo and Jose Juan Barea combined for a total of 43 points, 23 and 20 respectively, to finish the contest for Puerto Rico. Renaldo Balkman added 14 markers of his own.
Jovan Harris led Mexico’s scoring performance with 23 points and Lorenzo Mata added in his own 14-point, 10-rebound effort for Mexico.