14 - 20
August 2023
14 Gabriel Deck (ARG), 29 Patricio Garino (ARG)
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OPQT's: Argentina recover with resounding win, advance to Semis with Chile, Uruguay

LA BANDA (Argentina) - Chile kept their party going, while Argentina and Uruguay secured their spots in the semifinals during Day 4 of the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament 2023 Argentina.

The 3 South American squads will now join Bahamas for a place in the final and the tournament's only ticket to next year's FIBA ​​Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.

Here's a look at what transpired Thursday at Estadio Ciudad in Santiago del Estero, Argentina:

Chile storm back to beat Colombia and finish atop Group A 

What a tournament it's been for Chile.

Juan Manuel Córdoba's squad completed their magical run in the group stage, defeating Colombia 77-65 to improve to 3-0, finishing atop Group A and advancing to the semifinals. 

Chile found themselves down by 11 points early in the third quarter and things looked bleak as Colombia controlled the action through Michaell Jackson and Hansel Atencia.

However, Sebastián Herrera rose from the ashes and rescued them. The 25-year-old guard went scoreless in the first half but hit 3 three-pointers as part of a torrid 23-6 quarter that put Chile back in control.

And once they were on top, they never looked back. Chile shot 50.8 percent from the field, including an excellent 10-24 from beyond the arc.

They had 5 different players scoring in double digits, led by Nicolás Carvacho's 17. Ignacio Varela (13 points on 3-6 from downtown) and Alejandro Vergara (10 on 2-3 from long distance) were lethal from the outside, while Felipe Haase added 12 points and 4 rebounds.


Carvacho and Haase were also instrumental in taking Jaime Echenique (6 points and 7 turnovers) and Andrés Ibargüen (8 points on 2-7 from the field) out of the game, allowing Chile to have 32-20 edge in points in the paint.

Colombia had jumped to their early lead behind Jackson's long-distance accuracy. The 36-year-old veteran finished with 19 points, but only 6 of them after halftime. Romario Roque only managed to score 3 of his 11 points after intermission as well. 

Chile will now face Bahamas on Saturday for a spot in the final, while Colombia was eliminated after U.S. Virgin Islands defeated Uruguay later in the day and the triple tie benefitted Uruguay by a small point differential.


Uruguay falls to USVI but advances on point differential

Uruguay, by the skin of their teeth, advanced to the semifinals despite losing 69-65 to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The final score forced a triple tie where Uruguay, USVI and Colombia ended up with equal 1-2 records behind Chile, who finished 3-0 atop Group B. 

However, the point differential barely favored Uruguay since the islanders needed to win by 8 points or more to earn the tiebreaker.

It was a bittersweet outcome for both teams, as Uruguay jumped to a 28-15 lead early in the second quarter and seemed fully in control before Virgin Islands uncorked an 18-0 run to get ahead and lead 35-32 at halftime. 

The lead changed hands several times during the second half, with Uruguay leading 48-47 at the end of the third quarter and USVI establishing a 65-59 lead with 2:37 to go. That was a five-alarm fire for Uruguay since they could only afford to lose by one more point the rest of the way.

However, Martín Rojas scored 4 of his 9 points down the stretch to allow Uruguay to hold on. 

USVI competed to the end, led by Miguel Arnold (14 points and 4 assists) and Romani Hansen (12 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals). But a couple of costly mistakes in the clutch, including a 24-second violation, stopped them from reaching their goal on a game where they shot an excellent 12-27 from beyond the arc.

As for Uruguay, they managed to stem the flow thanks to a 28-14 edge in points in the paint and capitalizing a little better on their opponent's mistakes (25 points off turnovers vs. 18 for USVI). 

Forward Emiliano Serres led the way with 16 points on 6-12 from the field before fouling out. Joaquín Rodríguez added 11 but couldn’t get out of his shooting slump, going 3/14 from the field. Rojas and Federico Soto added 9 points apiece. 

Uruguay will now face a much tougher challenge when they go up against Bahamas on Saturday.


Argentina routs Cuba to clinch SF berth

Argentina recovered from their loss to Bahamas on Wednesday by defeating Cuba, 109-66, in front of their raucous home crowd.

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Pablo Prigioni's squad battled through a tough opening period before opening a double-digit lead in the second quarter that they comfortably expanded throughout the second half.

The South Americans showed some of the same flashes that got them out to a big lead against Bahamas the day before, but this time managed to keep their foot on the pedal all the way until the final buzzer.

Facundo Campazzo led the way again, scoring 14 points, dishing 8 assists and notching 3 steals, but overall it was a magnificent team effort in which six different players scored in double digits. 

Lucio Redivo shot 6-11 from downtown and had a game-high 20 points off the bench. Argentina went a torrid 19-38 (50 percent) from beyond the arc and Carlos Delfino shot 4-7 to finish with 14 points.

Guard Luca Vildoza also flirted with a triple-double and ended up with 11 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists as Argentina shot 60.9 percent from the field. And even young big men Juan Fernández (15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks) and Francisco Cáffaro (10 points and 7 boards) held down the fort, allowing Argentina to win the battle of the paint, 46-38. 

Cuba just couldn’t get past Argentina's defense, turning the ball over 20 times and shooting a paltry 38.2 percent from the field. But despite the final margin, forward Neysser Coutin (15 points) and center Pedro Bombino (12 points and 4 steals) had encouraging performances.

Argentina finished second in Group A with a 1-1 record and will now face Chile in the semifinals on Saturday, with a win likely ensuring a rematch against Bahamas.

Highlight of the day

Lucio Redivo was the unexpected hero of Argentina's blowout win over Cuba.

The 29-year-old sharpshooter had the hot hand and his teammates never hesitated to find him on the perimeter. He sure made them look great.

Argentina bounced back and got a much-needed confidence boost heading into the weekend, where they'll have to win 2 games to win the tournament.