Mexico beat Panama and earn a chance to defend Centrobasket title against Puerto Rico
PANAMA CITY (Centrobasket Championship 2016) – Defending Centrobasket champion Mexico defeated the 2016 edition host Panama by a score of 59-52 and advanced to the tournament final where the team will face Puerto Rico for the gold medal. It will be a replay of the game for the gold medal in 2014.
Turning Point: After being down by double digits for most of the third quarter, Panama came back on the scoreboard and was within 5 points of the Mexican team until Hector Hernandez took over the game with seven minutes left. The power forward scored six points in a row in a two-minute stretch and did not allow the home team any momentum.
Mexico’s Lorenzo Mata who shot 1/10 from the free-throw line continued to give opportunities for Panama to get back in the game. However, the host failed to execute and became desperate in the clutch. Mexico’s veteran leadership was too much in the fourth.
Stats don’t lie: Mexico’s defense allowed only 52 points from a Panamanian team that had dazzled with their offensive power throughout the competition. Lorenzo Mata shone in this department with 11 rebounds and 6 blocks.
Game hero: Hector Hernandez was decisive again in the Mexico win. The power forward scored 12 points, all of them in important moments of the game.
Bottom Line: Mexico advanced for the Gold Medal game of the 2016 Centrobasket with a 59-52 victory over Panama and kept alive their chances to defend the title in the region.