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15 Esteban Batista (URU)
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Despite losing, Uruguay have their sights set on the World Cup

MONTEVIDEO (FIBA Basketball World Cup Americas Qualifiers 2019) — Uruguay fell at home against the United States and are left in the third position tied with Puerto Rico, their rivals in the last day of the Qualifiers.

Their chances of qualifying to the World Cup in China are still intact, as was explained by coach Rubén Magnano: “I don't stop to think to much about my history. Besides by track record, it's very possible to win in Puerto Rico,” to which he added: “Playing at the Clemente (Coliseum) will be very special, but the Uruguayan team have in their blood to be great in situations like this.”

Of course, prior to this game, the Celestes must play against an already-eliminated Mexico: “The roster they present could influence the result, no team wants to lose in front of their people even if they're already eliminated.”

Regarding the game they lost against the United States, he commented: “We were 27 minutes ahead in the scoreboard, we must've done something right. We had against us a team like the United States, and despite the fact that we portrayed a poor image against Argentina, this has its merits. We're always in the front, trying to fight.”

Luciano Parodi was one of Uruguay’s figures in the defeat, and shared his impressions on the match: “We played a good game, but we couldn't close well. We couldn't grasp it at the end and we were very forseeable in the attack. Now we must think about what's coming. We still have great chances. We lost our fuel at the end and the rim opened up for them. The important thing is that the team always kept fighting.”

When analyzing the next February window, he added: “Now we're thinking about what's coming, which is very hard. We showed that the team is united and believes a lot in itself. We're going to fight for it.”

Bruno Fitipaldo was the greatest scorer in the defeat: “I would've liked to help the team at another moment, in the end, which was key. The rest doesn't matter that much. We won't even make individual evaluations. We had high hopes of taking this game because even when nothing was left, we had control. Now we're blinded by the defeat, but we’ll keep fighting.”

The scorer also talked about the games against Mexico and Puerto Rico: “If you ask me in two weeks, I’ll tell you that yes, that I'm very ready. Sports are like that. We have to bounce back. Everyone will have their responsibilities and we're going in February to give it all, we’ll prepare and play hard in those two games as visitors.”

For his part, captain Esteban Batista expressed: “We're left a bit ticked off with the defeat. We're empty handed, in the end. We thought that the triumph was possible, and it slipped right through our fingers. We played a good game, we played very well during the greater part of the encounter. Now we have to continue. We left everything on the court, but it didn’t turn out for us. The most important thing was to set our own rhythm. We controlled our rivals during most of the game. They're athletes. We were tired and that played against us. We didn't have clarity towards the end. The shots that were going in stopped going in, and things got complicated.”

Regarding what lies ahead for Uruguay, he added: “You must get in the lead of the games that are coming up on February, start from the ground up these months. This isn't over and we have two finals ahead. We were there today, but we have to keep growing and learning. We know it's very hard, it's not the same as playing at home, but it's the only train we've got and we want to jump in. Mexico will be different. The final is against Puerto Rico and in San Juan.”