Mar del Plata, Argentina – In the second game of the day, Puerto Rico defeated Venezuela, 94-82. The team coached by Flor Melendez shot well from behind the arc and from inside. Venezuela only presented resistance in the first half. The game’s best scorer is Daniel Santiago with 22 points.
In the first quarter both teams were erratic, but a quick start by Romero and Cubillan gave Venezuela the lead. A three-pointer by Sanchez, and two more points by Santiago put the Islanders in front. Even though both teams were inconsistent, Puerto Rico had better precision in their shots, thus taking the lead. Another three-pointer, this time by Cubillan, put Venezuela behind by just one point. Another shot by Sucre put the game 19-18.
Once again, in the second quarter, both teams continued shooting poorly, but the Puerto Ricans, with good ball movement, reclaimed the lead. Graterol tied the game to 24. Balkman, coming from the bench, provided Puerto Rico with a much needed help in both ends of the court. A three-pointer by Rodriguez gave them back the lead. The first half ended, 44-36, in favor of the Puerto Ricans.
The second half began with a missed three-pointer by Arroyo, but a good combination between Barea and Mojica allowed them to score in penetration. Cubillan, with two free-throws, shorten the lead. Barea scored a three-pointer to improve the lead to six but Echnique scored immediately. Another three-pointer, this time by Oscar Torres, put behind by 2, but Galindo and Barea scored and Santiago did an “and 1” to put his team in front by 13. The third quarter finished 75-57 with great contributions by Rodriguez and Santiago.
The last quarter started with two free throws by Santiago. Arroyo then began moving the ball well, and Balkman stole a ball while Galindo scored once again. A foul on Balkman caused strife between both teams; as a result, he, alongside Colmenares from Venezuela, was thrown out of the game. Santiago fouled out. The game finished 94-82.
“We are a very good team, but we waited more from Venezuela; the key today was defense” Puerto Rico’s Javier Mojica said. He also added “this is normal, that two teams fight to win; they left the game trying to win by any means necessary”.
Guillermo Baldo / FIBA Americas
Foto: Jose Jimenez