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Pamela Rosado, ready to lead Puerto Rico's Olympic dream
EDMONTON (Canada) — Celebrating more than 17 years representing Puerto Rico's national basketball team, Pamela Rosado is ready to climb to the highest place in sports — the Olympic Games. This is an achievement that would seal her legacy as one of the best ballers in the island and the region.
The 33-year-old veteran captains a Puerto Rican squad that's currently on the search to qualify to Tokyo 2020. As the oldest player in the group, Rosado is starting to think about leaving a legacy behind that already has it all — except for an Olympic ticket.
"It would mean closing — probably — my career with the last thing remaining to have been in all cycles of all tournaments in women's basketball. It would be a great honor for us to qualify,” said Rosado in Edmonton.
Puerto Rico is precisely coming in from being left out of the medals in the FIBA Women's AmeriCup (fourth place) that was held last September. There, they were able to defeat two rivals, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and will face them once again in Canada as part of the FIBA Women's Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament. Two months ago, in the AmeriCup, Rosado was impeccable, leading the points for her team with 9.5 per game, battling the boards to recover 4 rebounds per game, and efficiently assisting the game with 4.7 for an efficiency rate of 11.5 — the best for the Boricuas.
“It wasn't what we were hoping for. We were hoping for a better general performance as a group. Our goal was to be among the best three. We couldn't do that, but despite that, we were able to qualify in fourth place. I believe that's a great position considering the groups that were there, said Rosado before opening the tournament in Edmonton this Thursday with 16 points and 6 assists in Puerto Rico’s spacious 108-59 win against the Dominicans.
Pamela and the rest of the team need to finish among the two top places in this group to keep their hopes alive to Tokyo 2020. According to the point guard, the key is the team game and to never underestimate the rival.
“You have to come and play the entire 40 minutes, defend and work together to defeat the Dominican Republic and work hard for the next game against Canada. We know that we haven’t been able to defeat them in several years. (And then) play against Cuba again and do the best we can. It’ll be key not to be overconfident, despite we've had great wins against them,” explained Rosado minutes before taking the court for the opening game.
In this team, Pamela is the point guard, the veteran, the captain. Whatever she does, the Boricuas do. This is about leading the charge of 12 warriors, demanding the best from them and making difficult decisions in the most complicated moments. Rosado knows that.
“Here it's not about Pamela being the best scorer or being the best player. It’s simply about guiding the team, pushing my players to be better, and I believe that both in and out of the court they've shown that we're doing things well. For me, it's always an honor to lead my team. What we obtain at the end isn’t important, the beautiful thing about this is that we work together for Puerto Rico,” added the starter.
Without a doubt, the troop coached by Gerardo “Jerry” Batista has portrayed a forward trajectory in the past two years. In 2018, the program achieved their qualification to their first FIBA Women’s World Cup, in Tenerife, and last summer they fought for a well-deserved bronze medal in the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. All of this, under Rosado, who has maintained an admirable physical condition throughout this period.
“I feel very good. I must say that I feel much better than I did before,” said Rosado. “I've been preparing for a year and a half with physical trainer Fabián Amaya, and it’d been outstanding. I think that differences the Pamela from now to the Pamela from previous tournaments. He's prepared me so much both physically and mentally and I think that's the key.”
Now, Rosado's focused on doing the finishing touch in a career that's already quite marvelous. The player is currently undergoing one of the best moments in her life, which may be evidenced in her performance in Puerto Rico’s Superior Women's Basketball League, where she recently celebrated her second championship win with her team from Manatí.
Rosado points out that the key to her success, however, is always the collective effort and not only her individual fine-tuned skills. “It was a spectacular season. It was definitely time already to win a championship. I had a great group with an awesome core of players that knew how to recognize their role. Some of them are national teammates, Jazmon Gwathmey and Deanna Kuzmanic, who definitely left all egos aside — including me — and we worked as a team to get the common goal.”
With an international career that started in 2004 and isn’t lacking any achievements, Rosado has turned into a role model in women's sports in the Caribbean island. This is something that the 5’5” charismatic player doesn’t take lightly. “It's been a huge honor for me. It's an immense honor being able to represent my nation's colors in front of the world and I believe that's the most beautiful thing that an athlete can do in her entire career. I’m very happy and blessed because God has allowed me to represent my country,” Rosado concluded.