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Dominican Republic, with an urgent need of a victory, welcome Venezuela
SANTO DOMINGO (FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers 2019) – The Dominican Republic and Venezuela will face each other in Santo Domingo’s Palacio de los Deportes this Wednesday 21, starting at 8:30 PM local game time. The two teams are currently living two completely opposite realities: while the Venezuelans have already secured their place at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China 2019, the Dominicans desperately need to add victories to be able to play in the tournament at the Asian country.
The men led by Melvyn López hold a 6-4 mark for the Americas Qualifiers and are placed fourth in Group F. To get a direct pass to China, they must triumph twice in this sixth window, which is why this duel against Venezuela is critical.
The Dominican coach hopes that the defense is up to the task of overcoming the first hurdle.
“We want our guys, equally, to be able to group in the defense, to dominate the rebound battle, to know the strengths of each one of the opposite players and know which their vulnerable spots in order to attack them there. The defense will be crucial against Venezuela,” declared López to news journal El Caribe.
The coach called figures like Dagoberto Peña, Eloy Vargas, Miguel Suero, Rigoberto Mendoza, Ronald Ramón, Ronald Roberts Jr., Víctor Liz, Sadiel Rojas and naturalized player M. J. Rhett, among others.
During the previous clash between the two squads, in mid-September, the South Americans won at Fórum de Valencia by the bare minimum, 79-78.
“The work here in the Dominican Republic has gone well. We're all together. We want to uphold everything good that we've been doing up until now,” added the coach while referencing the training week that the team has spent in the island.
Venezuela, Group F leader with a 9-1 record, has called — as is usual — the core players that were part of Guaros de Lara in the Group Phase of the DIRECTV Liga de las Américas 2019. Néstor Colmenares, José Vargas and Heissler Guillent will keep their perfect attendance in the Qualifiers, and it is expected that point guard David Cubillán will appear for the first time, after being absent due to several reasons — including injuries.
In their next commitment on Sunday, the 24th, Venezuela will visit Canada (8-1), their closest contender in the bracket.
For their part, Dominicana will welcome Brazil also at home, on Monday, the 25th. The options available for the Quisqueyanos are: achieving two triumphs against Venezuela and Brazil; defeating Brazil and that the Brazilians lose against the Virgin Islands or; defeating Venezuela and losing against Brazil and, due to a difference in points, being placed in front of Puerto Rico or Uruguay.