Home » Argentina Narrowly Avoids Disaster at the Start of Their Title Defense in Men’s Basketball

Argentina Narrowly Avoids Disaster at the Start of Their Title Defense in Men’s Basketball

The albiceleste needed overtime to defeat Venezuela 95-88 in a game they were leading 70-52 in the final quarter.
After the women’s competition concluded with Brazil’s victory over Colombia on Sunday in a predominantly defensive final (40-50), featuring 13 points and 12 rebounds from 41-year-old Erika de Souza, it’s now time for the men’s competition with Argentina as the defending champions.

Unlike men’s handball, in basketball, the Pan American Games coincide with club competitions, and the albiceleste is not the power they were four years ago in Lima, with players like Facundo Campazzo (now with Real Madrid, Spain), the legendary and now retired Luis Scola, Nico Brussino (Gran Canaria, Spain), Nico Laprovittola (Barcelona, Spain), Gaby Deck (Real Madrid), or Luca Vildoza (Panathinaikos, Greece). The albiceleste secured victory in the final against Puerto Rico with a score of 66-84.

Coach Leandro Ramella assembled a team of players from Argentine and Brazilian clubs, with the only exceptions being Juan Bocca (an 18-year-old from Monbus Obradoiro, Spain) and Lucas Giovanetti, also 18 and from Movistar Estudiantes (Spain). Perhaps their key player is Santiago Scala, a base player for Sesi Franca in Brazil.

However, the albiceleste came close to defeat against Venezuela in their first game, as they led comfortably 70-52 with 7:07 remaining after two successful free throws by Agustín Pérez. The game was ultimately decided in overtime, marking the ‘debut’ of a tournament where, like in the women’s competition, the United States does not field a team.

In the final seven minutes, ‘Vinotinto’ staged a spectacular comeback, taking the lead with 31 seconds remaining after a three-pointer by José Ascanio, from the Venezuelan Guaros (75-76) following a 5-24 run. Scala’s two free throws sent the game to overtime, where Argentina ultimately triumphed 95-88, with Scala as the top scorer with 23 points (3/6 from three-point range) and six assists. He was followed by Javier Alejandro Saiz (Instituto, Argentina) with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

In the other Group A match, the Dominican Republic displayed their strength with a convincing 81-53 victory over Panama. The game was effectively sealed in the third quarter with a 28-8 run, after Panama led 30-34 at halftime. The standout player of the game was the Dominican Jonathan Araujo (Broncos de Caracas, Venezuela) with 15 points, an impressive 4/4 from beyond the arc, and eight rebounds, supported by Juan Guerrero (Cocodrilos de Caracas, Venezuela) with 16 points and five rebounds.

As for Group B, Brazil confirmed their role as favorites with a resounding victory over Mexico (54-74) in a match that was almost decided by halftime (23-42). The ‘verdeamarelha’ shone in defense, not allowing any opponent to reach 10 points. In attack, Gabriel Jaú (Flamengo, Brazil) led with 14 points and eight rebounds; however, scoring was well-distributed.In the last game on Tuesday, host Chile came close to causing the day’s biggest upset by leading Puerto Rico by eight points with 9:43 remaining (58-51). However, the Puerto Ricans rallied with an 8-19 run, securing their first win with 14 points from Dimencio Vaughn (Doctor Rafael Barias, Dominican Republic) and 10 points and eight rebounds from Jorge Matos Nieves (who ended last season with the Grises de Humacao, Puerto Rico).

The competition follows the same format as the women’s and consists of three days. The top two from each group will face off in cross-semifinals on Friday (first against second and second against first), and the winners will compete for gold on Saturday after the bronze medal match.

Source: Insidethegames