Puerto Rico wins bronze after downing Argentina
YUCATAN (Mexico) – Puerto Rico survived a furious late comeback attempt from Argentina, winning 86-76 in overtime to finish 3rd in the 2023 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
The islanders, playing in their second overtime game in 3 nights, led by as many as 14 points in the second half before Argentina clawed their way back and forced the extra time.
The momentum swings were wild at Poliforum Zamna, as Argentina jumped to an early lead and seemed in control despite the close score.
However, Felipe Quiñones never let Puerto Rico drift too far, scoring 10 points in the opening quarter and tallying 14 at the half.
The 15-year-old guard ended with a game-high on 10/21 from the field and added 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals to put the finishing touches on an excellent week both for himself and his country.
Quiñones was joined in the third by Mason Santiago and Rognny Santiago, who helped him push Puerto Rico's lead to 61-47 midway through the third quarter.
However, Argentina valiantly fought back, chipping away at the lead throughout the second half before tying the game at 69 in the final 90 seconds of regulation on a pair of clutch free throws from Iván Pratto.
That was followed by a wild sequence where Alexander Montes and Felipe Minzer traded buckets before Minzer missed what would've been the game-winning shot for Argentina, and then Richard Rosa was stripped on a fast break drive as time expired.
Minzer broke out for 20 points (7/12 from the field), 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in a game-high 44 minutes. Pratto finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds and capped off a very solid tournament.
Power forward Joaquín Sarmiento led the way for Argentina with 23 points and 10 rebounds, collecting his second double-double of the tournament (after having 11 points and 11 boards against Puerto Rico in the group stage).
But overall, Puerto Rico was just a bit better across the board. The boricuas shot 42.0 percent (to Argentina's 41.9) from the field, won the rebounding battle 48-43 and drained 5 more three-pointers (9 vs. 4).
And while Argentina dominated in the paint (44-32), Puerto Rico took advantage of the South American's 29 turnovers, generating 27 points off them.
Argentina seemed to run out of steam in the overtime period, as Puerto Rico outscored them 15-5 behind 6 more points from Quiñones and clutch three-pointers from Myles Fuentes and Mason Santiago to put it away and let the celebration begin.
Brazil clinches 5th place; Mexico gets first win to finish 7th
Brazil and Mexico closed out their participation in the 2023 FIBA Americas U16 Championship with solid wins on Sunday.
The South Americans got past the Dominican Republic to clinch 5th place, while the host country defeated Uruguay to get their first win and avoid finishing in last place.
Here's a look at how the games unfolded:
Mexico finally gave the home crowd something to cheer for defeating Uruguay, 79-61, to finish in 7th place.
Karim López rounded out a sensational tournament with another exquisite performance, dropping 32 points and 20 rebounds in the winning effort. The power forward shot 9/14 from the field, including 2/4 from long distance and 12/17 at the charity stripe and added 3 blocks in 34 minutes.
Daniel Ojeda's squad started the game on a 15-2 run that set the tone for most of the first half. López, who plays for Joventut Badalona in Spain, scored 16 of his team's 25 points in the opening period.
However, Uruguay cut the deficit in half in the second quarter and roared back after halftime, getting within a single point early in the third quarter behind the sheer relentlessness of Joaquín Taboada.
The 6'3 forward from Nacional scored 18 of this team-high 25 points between the second and third quarters as Uruguay had the host country on their heels.
In the end, Mexico relied on their defense (holding Uruguay to just 30.8 percent from the field) and interior strength (30 points in the paint and 28 made free throws) to find composure and extend the lead all the way until the final buzzer.
Dylan Aguilera (12 points and 7 rebounds) and Amario Aguirre (11 points) also scored in double digits for Mexico, while Valentín Curbelo (17 points and 9 boards) and Lucas Rodríguez (11 points) did the same for Uruguay, who finished the tournament winless and in 8th place.
Brazil concluded their participation in the tournament with a victory over Dominican Republic, 71-56, on Sunday at Poliforum Zamna to finish in 5th place.
Bruno Porto's squad led almost wire-to-wire by dominating the boards (47-34) and holding D.R. to just 29.4 percent from the field.
Forwards Mathias Vazquez (15 points and 8 rebounds) and Pedro Fernandes (14 points, 6 boards and 3 blocks) led the way for Brazil, while center Fabricio De Freitas also pulled down 16 rebounds and had 4 blocks.
Point guard Miguel Monteiro shot 4/8 from beyond the arc and finished with 15 points off the bench for a Brazilian squad that led at one point by 25 points in the second half and capitalized on second chance points (13-7) and points off turnovers (20-17).
Dominican Republic just couldn’t get much going offensively. Team stars Richard Fernandez (14 points) and Lucas Morillo (16) were their only players to score in double digits, but they shot a combined 10 of 33 from the field.