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30 August
14 September, 2014
Alex Franklin (PUR)
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Impressive Franklin claims spot in Puerto Rico squad

SAN JUAN (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Puerto Rico coach Paco Olmos has settled on his 12-man squad for the FIBA Basketball World Cup with a handful of players impressing enough in recent weeks to clinch spots.

In addition to veterans Carlos Arroyo, Jose Barea, David Huertas, Alex Galindo, Renaldo Balkman, Ricky Sanchez and Daniel Santiago, Olmos has included Carlos Rivera, Alex Franklin, Angel Vassallo, Ramon Clemente and Jorge Brian Diaz.

Though NBA star Barea was a certainty to make the squad, he played at the recent Centrobasket in Mexico with others who were trying to gain selection to the World Cup team.

His Centrobasket teammates Franklin, Rivera and Clemente played well and gained spots on the roster.

Now the Puerto Rico players will step up their preparations for Spain, where they are to play in Group B against Greece, Croatia, Senegal, the Philippines and Argentina.

Franklin did well for Puerto Rico in 2012 when they attempted to reach the London Games via the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela.

A gifted and athletic forward, Franklin is one of the Boricuas who plays the game above the rim.

"Franklin joins after being in the team in 2012 and at that time we thought that if he was healthy, he had the tools to be in this group," said Puerto Rican Basketball Federation President Carlos Beltran.

"He is a player who brings a lot of energy, is athletic and has a good attitude.

"In the case of Jorge Brian, he is one of our greatest prospects for the future. I am sure that Argentina had no idea who Jorge Brian was during Sunday's game."

Brian, a standout center who played for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and hails from Caguas, Puerto Rico, had 14 points and seven rebounds in the team's 97-87 triumph over Argentina in Belgrade.

"I was told that the Argentinians saw that tall, skinny guy doing things on the court and did not know what to do against him," said Beltran.

He thanked the players who had pressed their claims during the Centrobasket for the team but didn't make it.

"And of course, my respect to Filiberto (Rivera), (Javier) Mojica and (Devon) Collier for their work at the Centrobasket and willingness to be here," he said.

Puerto Rico have traveled to New York to resume their preparations.

On Friday they will take on the United States at Madison Square Garden.

Arroyo and Santiago are the only players left from the Puerto Rico squad that upset the United States on the opening day of the Athens Olympics 10 years ago.

Puerto Rico squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup: Carlos Arroyo, Renaldo Balkman, Jose Barea, Ramon Clemente, Jorge Diaz, Alex Franklin, Alex Galindo, David Huertas, Carlos Rivera, Ricky Sanchez, Daniel Santiago and Angel Vassallo.