Mexico takes the Bronze
CORDOBA (FIBA AmeriCup 2017) - Mexico defeated Virgin Islands 79-65 and won the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 Bronze Medal. The Mexicans dominated the whole match and closed their participation with a score of 4 wins and one defeat. For the Islanders, it was a very positive tournament and their debut against Canada was their biggest highlight. Francisco Cruz was the star player of the team; that also exhibited good plays by Garibay, Hernández and Jorge Gutiérrez.
Mexico controlled the first quarter. The team commanded the court and forced its rival to make bad shots. Their main weapon in the offense were the solid catch of defensive rebounds. Fast exits usually took their opponent by surprise. In 6 minutes, they had a maximum lead of 14 points (18-4), closing the first quarter 13 points ahead (20-7). Lorenzo Mata in the defense and Cruz in the offense were the winning team’s best players.
Everything seemed to stay the same, but after Girón's double, the score increased by 15 (22-7). It was then when the Islanders changed their game and took better defensive decisions. Edwin and Jones attacked efficiently, and that’s how they got a double after a 15-2 run in just 4 minutes. In fact, they the chance to tie the game but they didn’t and Mexico had no mercy. It was Garibay’s moment in the game. With nine points in a row, he took the air and once again enlarged the difference by 13 (39-26) before resting during another short break.
Beyond the reaction that Virgin Islands intended to seek —with Hodge taking better offensive options—, Mexico controlled the action with Cross as offensive player. Once again, the Mexicans had the lead and were ahead by 16 points (58-42), being Hernández another one of the players who gave it all in the paint. The third quarter was fairly even, but the Mexicans were still winning by 12 (61-49).
The Virgin Islands controlled the beginning of the fourth quarter. They ran with Hodge and caused serious offense mistakes for a team that relied heavily Point Guard Cruz. A fast 8-1 put him back in the game (62-57). However, they couldn’t strengthen the reaction. The difference when taking rebounds was key in closing the game. Gutiérrez's lead, along with Cruz’s performance gave Mexico the possibility to end victorious and return home with the bronze.