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Panama beat Cuba, reach Centrobasket Semi-Finals
PANAMA (Centrobasket) - Panama defeated Cuba, 76-71, and remains unbeaten in the Centrobasket. Tomorrow on the Semi-Finals of the Centrobasket, Panama will face Mexico, while Puerto Rico will face Dominican Republic.
• Turning Point: The score was tied at 63 with less than 4 minutes to play, when Panama responded with a run of 9 - 0. Yasiel Rodriguez scored a three-pointer, but Ayarza responded quickly and the difference was of 8 points, with less than a minute to play. Torres reduced the difference to four from the free throw line, Panama responded, but on the other side of the court Jaca completed a three-point play and the difference went to three with 10 seconds left. From the line of free-throws, Hicks added two more to the Panamanian advantage. Cuba lost the ball and the victory belonged to Panama.
• Stats don’t lie: Panama dominated the boards 43-28.
• Game Hero: Michael Hicks was the top scorer for Panama with 18 points.
• The Bottom Line: With the victory, Panama established the Semifinals of the Centrobasket. Tomorrow on the penultimate day of the regional tournament, Panama will face Mexico, while Puerto Rico will face the Dominican Republic. For its part, Nicaragua will play Bahamas for seventh place and Cuba will face the Virgin Islands for fifth place. As a result of the Panamanian victory: Panama, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic qualified for America’s Division A of FIBA’s New Competition System. Meanwhile, the Virgin Islands and Cuba will fight for fifth place in the Centrobasket and the last ticket available to Division A of FIBA’s New Competition System.