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4 Victor Alvarez (MEX)
Game Report
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Mexico wins, Uruguay will try to fulfill their dream in a must-win game against Puerto Rico

MONTERREY (FIBA Basketball World Cup Americas Qualifiers 2019) — Uruguay fell against Mexico, 88-77, at the Nuevo León Unido Gymnasium in Monterrey, and must defeat Puerto Rico on Monday — in what will be a true final — if they wish to clinch their desired ticket to the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The team coached by Rubén Magnano are fourth in Group E of the Americas Qualifiers, with a 6-5 record, but still have the possibility of joining the qualifying teams of the Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, United States and Venezuela. For this, they must wait until the last date of the Qualifiers, on Monday the 25th, when they’ll face their direct rivals, Puerto Rico, who are currently third (7-4) after defeating Argentina 87-86. The result has cancelled any possibility of deciding by point difference and so, the winner of the duel, no matter by how much, will take the last ticket awarded to Group E of the FIBA Basketball World Cup Americas Qualifiers.

Lucas Martínez led the winning side’s attack, with 23 points (6/9 in three-point shots and 5/7 in free throws), Víctor Álvarez followed with 20 more (4/5 in three-pointers) and 7 assists, while Jorge Camacho collaborated with 13 more (2/2 in three-point shots). For the Charrúas, only two players reached the double digits. Luciano Parodi was the best scorer, with 18 points (4/8 in three-pointers) and young player Joaquín Rodríguez followed suit with 12 (3/5 in three-point shots). The leaders of the Uruguayan team, Esteban Batista and Bruno Fitipaldo, ended with just 9 and 7 points, respectively.

Mexico presented a team that averages 27 years of age and that is missing its main figures, but they did show a great performance, stayed ahead throughout the encounter, and had a high three-point shot percentage in the first stage (65 percent) that made the difference, as well as a 10-0 partial. They used Uruguay's defense to their advantage and closed the first half 42-34 after winning the two first quarters, 19-16 and 23-18.

The greatest difference was by 15 points in the third quarter, 58-43 with 2:37 left to the end, and it closed to 13 with an 18-13 quarter (60-47). The end was head-to-head, and Uruguay won the first quarter (28-30) but the difference by then was too much and the Mexican triumph was already a reality.

Mexico were impeccable in the three-point shots, with 64 percent (16/25), aside from a 66.67 in free throws (12/18) and 57.69 percent in field throws, while capturing 32 rebounds (25 defensive) and executing 24 assists. The team led by Rubén Magnano executed 19 assists, captured 26 rebounds (17 defensive) and although they didn’t have a poor percentage in three-point shots, 40.74 (11/27), the Mexican domain in long-distance shots was quite more superior and established the route to the victory since the beginning.

The men coached by Iván Déniz cut their five consecutive defeats drought in this Qualifiers, recording 4 victories and 7 losses, and will now conclude their Group E participation in a game on Monday against Panama (4-7). Both teams are currently in the last positions of the zone.

Uruguay will try to qualify to the World Cup after a 33-year absence. Their last participation was in Spain 1986 and they have the great chance to make history by returning to the stage that unites the best 32 teams in the world. But first, Uruguay will have to face Puerto Rico in a true final with sold-out tickets, and in front of more than 10,000 people, in the Roberto Clemente Coliseum.