04 - 09
July 2016
Lorenzo Mata (MEX)
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Mata back in the reckoning for Mexico

MEXICO CITY (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) - Mexico could get an injection of size and experience at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Turin with Lorenzo Mata among the 17 named on the preliminary list of players for the event.

On the books of Pioneros de Quintana Roo, Mata was an important member of the Mexico squad that won the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship in Caracas, Venezuela. The 2.03m power forward averaged 5.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest at the event.

Mata saved his best performance for last, pouring in 14 points and corralling 10 boards in Mexico's 91-89 triumph over Puerto Rico in the title game.

Injuries kept him out of the line-up the last couple of years, at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship, but the 30-year-old is now available again.

Veteran head coach Sergio Valdeolmillos, who is currently at the helm of Estudiantes in Madrid, Spain, has a preliminary squad with considerable experience. In addition to 2013 FIBA Americas Championship MVP Gustavo Ayon of Real Madrid, a player who also made the All-Star Five at last year's tournament in Mexico City, Valdeolmillos has sharpshooter Paul Stoll, the versatile Pako Cruz and Charlotte Hornets guard Jorge Gutierrez.

All played big minutes at the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship, where Mexico led Argentina for much of their Semi-Final but faded in the fourth quarter and lost to miss out on direct qualification for the Olympics.

Had Mexico been at full strength, the outcome might have been different. Mata would certainly have helped but instead had to watch the game from the stands.

As part of their preparations for the OQT, Mexico will host a triangular tournament from 10-12 June in Merida, Yucatan. The opponents have not been announced.

El Tri will then compete at the Centrobasket in Panama's Roberto "Manos de Piedra" Duran coliseum 20-26 June.

Mexico's last stage of preparations for the OQT will be in Europe, where Valdeolmillos and Co will go up against Senegal and the Czech Republic in friendly games.

At the OQT in Turin, Mexico will take on Greece and Iran in Group A, while Italy, Croatia and Tunisia will play in Group B. Only the winner of the event will clinch a spot in the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Mexico 17-player preliminary squad for Turin OQT: Juan Anderson, Gustavo Ayon, Francisco Cruz, Jose Estrada, Edgar Garibay, Gabriel Giron, Cezar Guerrero, Jorge Gutierrez, Jose Gutierrez, Hector Hernandez, Lorenzo Mata, Orlando Méndez, Pedro Meza, Adam Parada, Marco Antonio Ramos, Paul Stoll and Rodrigo Zamora.