Argentina, Dominican Republic, Canada, USA, punch their ticket to FIBA U17 World Cup 2022
XALAPA (México) - After battling for seeding purposes over the first three days of the FIBA U16 Americas Championship in Xalapa, Mexico, the stakes raised to another level as the Quarter-Finals began on Friday.
There weren’t many surprises to open the knockout round, but there were plenty of takeaways from the four teams that advanced to the next round.
Here is what we learned on Friday:
Argentina’s depth can match up with the United States
While the United States have more talent and skill than any other team in the tournament, they aren’t the only club that can recover when their star and best player has an off night.
Enter Argentina: a team that is well known for their superb outside shooting and the play of forward Juan Bocca. On Friday, though, the South American squad drilled just 27% of their 3’s and Bocca shot 1-of-5 from beyond the arc in 18 minutes of action. Instead of struggling on offense a whole, Juan Peral stepped up to drop 21 and Lucas Giovannetti was a spark plug with 14 points.
Chile didn’t put up much of a test, so Bocca really didn’t need to have an overwhelming game – although it may actually benefit him in the later rounds as he was able to rest for the majority of the outing. However, Argentina can move forward knowing they have multiple options they can count on.
Dominican Republic’s gameplan was superb
On paper, this wasn’t the best matchup for the DR. Even though they looked like the better team in group play, Brazil’s interior presence was particularly stout, while the DR’s weakness was on the interior.
While Brazil was able to outrebound them by nine and scored six more second-chance points in this Quarter-Final game, the Dominican Republic forced Enrico Vicentini Borio and Igor De Jesus Andrade – two key starting forwards – into foul trouble. They capitalized by scoring six more total points in the paint.
The DR also dictated the pace of the game, forcing 27 turnovers and 10 more points in transition. If this club can continue to create havoc with their defensive pressure and energy, they could certainly upset Argentina in the semis.
Mikkel Tyne is making his case for best player in the tournament
While Canada’s 5-foot-10, 16-year-old point guard was left off of our list of four best players from the group stage, Tyne made a strong case as to why he can match the play of Bocca, Ronald Holland, Danny Carbuccia and Alejandro Aviles.
Aviles – who dropped 22 points and 11 rebounds for Puerto Rico – was a stud in his own right, but Tyne was on another level. Not only did he score 20 on an efficient 6-of-12 shooting, but he made everyone on the court better with his playmaking and seven total assists. Most importantly, he took good care of the basketball, notched three key steals and hit all five of his free throws.
How Tyne plays against the powerhouse United States will be a critical storyline on Saturday.
The Jalen Lewis show is officially here
The United States has yet to score under 100 points in this event and continued their impressive run by throttling Mexico, 123-53. Ronald Holland has not only been the United States’ best player, he’s arguably been the top talent in the tournament.
On Friday, though, it was Lewis – the 6-foot-11, 16-year-old forward – who shined the brightest. Holland scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, however, Lewis went off for 24 in 19 minutes and was nearly unstoppable on the interior.
We already know how talented the United States roster is and how many contributors are capable of stepping up on any given night. What we didn’t know is that Lewis can very well be the No. 1 option and guide Team USA to a title.