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ARG - Argentinians in good shape despite loss of Delfino
BUENOS AIRES (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Argentina coach Julio Lamas is going to have plenty of options to consider over the next month as he puts together his squad for the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
And he's going to need them following the news that sharpshooter Carlos Delfino will not recover from a foot injury in time to play for the side at the 24-team tournament in Spain.
Delfino missed all of last season with the Milwaukee Bucks and was a huge uncertainty for the South American giants.
The Argentinian Basketball Confederation announced over the weekend that he will not be available.
"There are still about 30 days (before the start of the World Cup) and that's a long time," said Lamas.
There is plenty of cause for Argentina, who are No. 3 in the FIBA bwin Ranking Men, to be optimistic.
One of them is the mental toughness the squad is showing at the South American Championship, which is currently underway in Isla Margarita, Venezuela.
Argentina are competing in the tournament with eight players who have already been confirmed in the World Cup squad.
Several players are attempting to impress with a view to making the roster that will fight in Group B in Spain.
One of the scalps at the South American Championship claimed by the Argentina side, which is being coached by Lamas' national team assistant Nicolas Casalanguida, was that of Brazil.
Argentina trailed in the game but beat their South American foes, 64-59.
They had to turn on the style in the fourth quarter and did so, outscoring the Brazilians, 27-13.
Shooting guard Selem Safar, a vital member of Argentina's squad at last year's FIBA Americas Championship, had 17 points in the win.
Safar, who was four of seven from the arc in that game, is among those who is attempting to clinch a spot in the World Cup squad.
"We know we're not playing as well in the tournament as we'd like but in difficult moments we're showing grit and heart," said the 27-year-old.
Casalanguida admitted his team had not been at its best but was "mentally strong".
The Argentinians maintained their winning momentum next time out in a 79-68 Semi-Final triumph over Uruguay.
Laprovittola had 15 points, six assists and four steals, while Mata and Bortolin each scored 14 points and Delia 12.
Argentina will play Venezuela in Monday's Final because the tournament hosts edged Brazil 66-65 in the other Semi-Final.
Meanwhile, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Uruguay have all qualified for the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship by achieving top-four finishes.