08 - 12
December 2021
7 Santiago Camacho (MEX)
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Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and host Mexico dominate in Day 1 action

 MEXICALI (Mexico) - Eight countries from Mexico and Central America are in Mexicali, Mexico at the Instituto del Deporte y la Cultura Fisica to compete for three spots in the 2022 FIBA U18 Americas Championship next June at a location to be determined. Mexico (gold) and Puerto Rico (silver) return to the tournament after standing on the podium in San Juan in 2019. Five days of competition began with four games in Group A and B on Friday.

Costa Rica 93 - 41 Aruba

Costa Rica began the game with a 15-0 run by capitalizing on Aruba turnovers and getting fast break buckets built a comfortable lead in route to a 93-41 win in Game 1 in Group A from Mexicali.

Aruba hit the scoreboard for the first time with 4:04 to go in the first period on a jumper by Jean Salomond.

Costa Rica’s Julian Quiros scored 12 in the first period to lead all scorers as his side took a 26-7 lead into the second quarter. Twenty of those 26-points came after forcing 11 missed shots by Aruba.

The defense creating offense theme continued in the second quarter as Quiros led three Ticos in double-figures with 19-points as Costa Rica ran out to a 62-11 lead at the half. Kyrian Brooks led Aruba at the break with four-points. At one point in the first half, Costa Rica ran off 32-consecutive points to help seal the win and two points in group standings.

Quiros led all scorers with 25-points on 11-23 from the field. His teammates Mayron Ulloa (16-points and nine rebounds), Andres Mora, who fell just short of a triple-double (14-points, nine assists and seven boards), Matias Salas (10-points) and Emmanuel Hernandez (10-points) finished in double-figures for the victors.

Salomond led Aruba in scoring with 13-points while Vladimir Robert had a nice game with eight points and 15-rebounds.

Next up for Costa Rica is a matchup with Puerto Rico while Aruba will take on Panama on Thursday.

Puerto Rico 85 - 70 Panama

Puerto Rico looked every bit like a team that wanted to compete once again for gold withstanding runs from Panama and puling away in the second half to win 85-70.

Perhaps nerves played a role in the slow offensive start for both teams in the first quarter, but things loosened up especially from beyond the arc for both as Panama led 20-15 heading into the second quarter. Panama’s Andres Orocu led all scorers in the first stanza with 11-points.

A 7-0 run by Puerto Rico to begin the second quarter powered by the inside play of Alejandro Aviles gave Eddin Cordero’s team their first lead at 22-20. From there things went back and forth as both teams settled into an offensive flow. Three baskets from beyond the arc by Jose Melendez and a put back by Alejandro Catala pushed Puerto Rico on an 11-0 run and their biggest lead at 40-29 eventually growing that lead at the halftime break to 43-30. Melendez led Puerto Rico at the half with 11-points while Orocu from Panama led all scorers with 14-points. Points in the paint was the difference in the first twenty minutes with Puerto Rico leading 26-12.

A layup by Sebastian Bosquez forced a Puerto Rico timeout as Panama began the half on an 8-0 run to get the Canaleros within five at 43-38. Puerto Rico would respond with a 16-5 run of their own to extend the lead to 59-43 and would extend that margin going into the final ten minutes 69-56.

Puerto Rico maintained their double-digit lead in the final quarter to pick up an all-important two points and the win.

Just like the first half, strength in the lane was key as Puerto Rico won the battle in the paint 48-32. Yaniel Rivera (18-points, nine rebounds and eight assists) led Cordero’s team in the win. He was joined by Edir Torres (16-points), Melendez (11-points) and Alejandro Aviles (11-points) in double-figures.

For Panama, Orocu lead the way with 15-points but just one in the second half. Emanuel Periñan (11-points) and Daniels Machore (10-points) rounded out double-figure scorers for head coach Nicanor Rivas.

On Thursday these two squads return to action with Puerto Rico taking on Costa Rica and Panama faces off with Aruba.

Dominican Republic 114 - 58 El Salvador

Pressure defense and a penetrating with the dribble helped the Dominican Republic to an early lead in their game against El Salvador that had a final scorer of 114-58 in Game 1 of Group B play.

The DR dominated the boards 19-11 including 10 offensive rebounds early as they built a 25-12 lead after the first quarter. El Salvador was bothered by a pressing defense shooting 24-percent in the first 10-minutes and turning the ball over on 12 occasions.

Jose Cabrera’s squad continued in the second quarter outscoring El Salvador 14-4 to start the quarter, which forced a timeout with 6:53 to go in the second quarter as they were down 39-16.

At the half, the Dominican Republic led El Salvador 61-28 with 16 of El Salvador’s points coming from the foul line. The DR scored an amazing 36-points in quarter number two and were led at the halftime break by Nasir Paulino’s 12-points. El Salvador was paced by their captain Juan Ibarra with 13.

A 26-7 advantage for the Dominican Republic allowed them to lead 87-35 after three quarters.

Paulino and Yelson Liberato led the Dominican Republic in scoring with 16 a piece while Juan Pineda tallied 14-points, Aidony Nivar scored 13-points and Wilber Mejia, Luis Diaz, José Almonte chipped in 10 each.

For El Salvador, 15-year-old Kaeden Sibrian led the way with 17-points including nine-points on three made triples in the fourth quarter. Ibarra chipped in14.

Game 2 on Thursday will see the Dominican Republic take on Mexico while El Salvador battles Jamaica.

Mexico 117 - 67 Jamaica

The defending FIBA U17 CentroBasket champions and host Mexico started quickly going on a 9-0 run to begin their contest versus Jamaica and never trailed cruising to a 117-67 win in the finale of Day 1 Group B action.

London Johnson kept the island nation in the game in the first quarter scoring 13 of his teams 15 as Mexico led after the first 10-minutes 24-15. Once again, Mexico separated the score against Jamaica with a 17-1 run to build their lead to 41-17 expanding to a halftime margin of 58-29 as the hosts shot 71-prcent from the field. Santiago Camacho led a balanced scoring attack for head coach Luis Moreno with 12-points. Johnson continued to carry Jamaica finishing the half with 18.

Things looked similar for Mexico to begin the second half, going on a 16-1 run to take a commanding 74-33 lead. Transition baskets after turnovers continued to be the recipe for success as Jamaica had turned the ball over 27-times to that point allowing for 34 Mexico points.

Mexico’s size and depth were key, outscoring Jamaica in the paint 72-26 and from the bench 67-2 in the win.

Johnson with a huge night for Jamaica scoring a tournament high 40-points, going 10-17 from the field and 18-20 from the free throw line.

Mexico had seven players in double-figures on the night led by Camacho’s 16-points.

Jamaica looks to bounce back tomorrow against El Salvador while Mexico again plays the last game of the day as they take the floor in Mexicali versus the Dominican Republic.