The FIBA Americas Championship tipped off in Mar del Plata, Argentina yesterday featuring several NBA players. While most of the games were blowout wins, Brazil and Venezuela had the best game of the day with Tiago Splitter and Greivis Vasquez leading both teams.
If you weren’t able to catch the games on ESPN3, we’ve got you covered with a few capsule recaps from each game.
Dominican Republic vs. Cuba
In what would be one of three blowout winds yesterday, Hawks center Al Horford and Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva led the Dominican Republic past Cuba.
The Dominican Republic ended the first quarter up 18 to 8 and then used a huge 31 to 18 lead in the third to put Cuba away for good.
Horford finished with 24 points and nine rebounds. Villanueva added 11.
Yoan Luis Haiti led Cuba with 18 points and eight rebounds.
Brazil vs. Venezuela
In what would be the closest, and likely best, game of the opening day of the FIBA Americas Championship, Brazil found a way to make a run and get the defensive stops they needed in order to turn a game around that they had been trailing in all game.
Venezuela’s only NBA player, Grizzlies guard Greivis Vasquez, kept Venezuela in the lead for the majority of the game. As soon as he went to the bench in the third quarter, Brazil capitalized, going on several runs and tightening up defensively to win 92-83.
Spurs forward Tiago Splitter led Brazil with 17 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots. Vasquez finished with 26 points and seven assists.
Argentina vs. Paraguay
In a game that was probably decided before tipoff, Argentina started most of what they call their “golden age” with Manu Ginobili, Andres Nocioni and Luis Scola.
Without a single NBA-caliber player for Paraguay, the talent difference was apparent early. Luis Scola scored eight straight points, and while Paraguay had limited success attacking Argentina’s depleted interior defense, Argentina fought back with great team defense and scored easily in transition to secure a dominating 84 t0 52 win.
Not to be upstaged by his NBA counterparts, backup guard Pablo Quinteros led Argentina with 19 points. Scola and Ginobili scored 14 and 10 apiece.
Panama vs. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, led by NBA players JJ Barea, Carlos Arroyo and Renaldo Balkman, took advantage of an early lead to distance themselves from Panama.
While Panama stayed within reach in the second and third quarters, Puerto Rico went on a scoring run in the fourth quarter and didn’t look back, beating Panama 99 to 66.
Arroya finished with 11 points, Barea had eight, Balkman scored six and former Bucks center Daniel Santiago ended the game with 15 points and six rebounds. Nuggets forward Gary Forbes chipped in 14 points and five rebounds for Panama.
Today, Venezuela will play the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico will likely have an upper hand against Parguay, Argentina will look to go a perfect 2-0 in a game against Uruguay and Canada will make their debut in Argentina against Brazil.