Fabian Jaimes leads Mexico to victory hours after losing his mother
CHIHUAHUA CITY (Mexico) - The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers will always bring a wave of emotion for Mexico’s Fabian Jaimes.
Before Mexico's first game of Group D play on Sunday, Jaimes received the somber news that his mother, Maria Concepcion Nava Vite had passed away in Mexico City.
Then, Mexico defeated Puerto Rico 90-86 highlighted by a massive double-double by Jaimes with 19 points and 12 rebounds. The emotional rollercoaster was in full swing for the Mexican forward. The joy of an amazing win to the loss of the family's beloved matriarch.
Coach Omar Quintero shared that Jaimes' father told him his mother would've wanted him to play. He should stay and play, and so he did.
A video was played on the scoreboard in Gimnasio Auditorio Universitario before Mexico took on the United States. Jaimes’ teammates wrapped their arms around him in support hoping to prop up their countryman. Players from Team USA also approached Jaimes and gave their condolences.
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USA led at the halftime break 57-48, but Mexico always plays with a grit and resolve that never gives up. That showed in an unbelievable third quarter that saw Mexico outscore the USA 31-12 to take a 79-69 lead propelling them to an 97-88 victory and a perfect 2-0 record in the opening window of FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers.
Jaimes, like his fellow starters, played large minutes as Quintero shortened his bench and rotation. Jaimes logged 33 minutes with the heaviest of hearts.
"I tip my hat to Fabian," Quintero said fighting back tears in the post-game press conference. "It was difficult. It was complicated and he stayed. He gave everything he had yesterday and today."
Just as his mother would have wanted.