06 - 20
August 2016
Brazil v Cuba 2015 Pan American Games
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Brazil look for emotional lift in friendly series with Cuba

RECIFE (2016 Rio Olympics) - On Thursday, Brazil will enter a new and important phase in their preparations for the 2016 Olympics. Antonio Barbosa's team will face nemesis Cuba in Recife in the first of three friendly games for both teams ahead of the South American Championship in Barquisimeto.

The second and third friendly encounters will be held on Saturday and Sunday in Sao Paulo.

While the Rio de Janeiro Games won't be played until August, the clashes with the Cubans, Barbosa says, are going to be important from a psychological standpoint.

These friendlies against Cuba will be very important because in past competitions, we had a certain disadvantage against them and now, we have the opportunity to reverse the results. - Barbosa

Cuba have been a bogey team for Brazil. At the 2005 FIBA Americas Women's Championship in the Dominican Republic, Cuba beat Brazil in the Final, 81-73. Two years later, when the tournament was staged in Chile, Cuba defeated them again, 69-67. When the teams met in the Semi-Finals of the 2013 FIBA Americas Women's Championship in Mexico, Cuba prevailed, 72-68.

Last year, Cuba met Brazil in the Third-Place Game of the Pan American Games in Toronto and won, 66-62.

While the Brazilians are geared up for this friendly series, and also to play in the South American Championship, what really has the players' attention is the Olympic Games.

The final squad has yet to be announced so each and every player has been supremely focused and showing a lot of passion in practice. Spots in the Olympic squad are up for grabs.

Since the presentation we have seen many improvements in the team. - Palmira Marcal

"We have known each other for some time and we are looking to jell," said Palmira Marcal, a 1.74m forward. "It is different when you join a group where everyone does not play together at the same club. The first week of training was quite satisfactory."

Brazil squad for Cuba friendly series: Adriana Moises Pinto Mafra, Barbara Generoso Honorio, Gilmara Justino, Isabela Ramona Lyra Macedo, Iziane Castro Marques, Jaqueline de Paula Silvestre, Joice Cristina de Souza Rodrigues, Karina da Silva Jacob, Kelly Santos Muller, Nadia Gomes Colhado, Palmira Cristina Marcal, Patricia Teixeira Ribeiro, Soeli Garvao Zakrzeski, Taina Mayara da Paixao and Tatiane Pacheco.