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July 2016
7 Carlos Arroyo (PUR), 33 David Huertas (PUR)
11/07/2016
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Puerto Rico great Arroyo bids farewell to national team

BELGRADE (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament) - "Puerto Rico, today I hand over to you my heart" begins the Facebook post with which Puerto Rico legend Carlos Arroyo, who turns 37 at the end of July, confirmed publicly on Sunday his retirement from the national team.

"I was able to live a dream that last for 15 years. Thank you for allowing me to represent you around the world," Arroyo said about the honour of playing for the national team in his message to Puerto Rico fans.


A few hours earlier, Arroyo had exited the court of Belgrade Arena trying to hold back his tears in the wake of Puerto Rico's 108-77 defeat to Serbia in the Final of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in the Serbian capital.

The veteran point guard rolled back the years during the tournament and averaged 13.2 points and a team-best 4.5 assists, albeit his amazing efforts fell just short of allowing him to step out at a second Olympic Games with the 'Boricuas'. Arroyo had put in memorable displays at Athens 2004 including a 24-point showing in Puerto Rico's historical win over the USA.

  • CARLOS ARROYO WITH THE PUERTO RICAN NATIONAL TEAM:
  • 3 gold medals at Centrobasket - 2003, 2008, 2010
  • 1 gold medal at Panamerican Games - 2011
  • 1 gold medal at Central American and Caribbean Games - 2010
  • 1 gold medal at FIBA Caribebasket - 2007
  • 2 silver medals at FIBA Americas Championship - 2009, 2013
  • 2 bronze medals at FIBA Americas Championship - 2003, 2007
  • 1 bronze medal at Panamerican Games - 2003
  • 1 bronze medal at Centrobasket - 2006

"I said a big thank you to Carlos for everything he did for Puerto Rico and for me personally," Puerto Rico fellow superstar Jose Juan Barea told the press conference after the Final. "He helped to put Puerto Rican basketball on the map, he helped us point guards especially. The passion he plays with, he is one of the biggest competitors I have seen in my life."

Arroyo commenced his senior national team career at the 2002 FIBA Basketball World Cup and made an immediate impact as he averaged 11.6 points and 6.4 assists per game to help Puerto Rico reach the Quarter-Finals. He became the captain of the national team following the retirement of legend Jose 'Piculin' Ortiz and pulled on the Boricua jersey almost uninterruptedly until the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Puerto Rico head coach Eddie Casiano, who was a team-mate of a young Arroyo on the national team for two years, was visibly emotional as he spoke to Puerto Rico daily El Nuevo Dia.

"Carlos has been one of the best true point guards in history, for the way he organises the game, the way he controls the pace," Casiano said. "We've competed side by side, so to see him play his last game was very tough. I tip my hat to this enormous player who was not treated well in the last years but he still gave everything and we wouldn't be where we are without him."

FIBA