Sunday, 30 August 2009

Canada Basketball Press Release after Puerto Rico game


(San Juan, P.R.) The Roberto Clemente Arena was packed on day five of the FIBA Americas Championship as Canada faced off against the undefeated home team Puerto Rico. Canada struggled to make baskets in the first half as Puerto Rico took control of the game and the win 90-70.

Canada falls to third in ‘Group A’ behind Puerto Rico (4-0) and Uruguay (3-1), but despite the loss, the team will advance to the quarter final round which tips off September 1.

“It’s a tournament and in these events you’re playing eight games in nine days and you have to be ready to play every game,” said Leo Rautins, Senior Men’s National Team Head Coach. “You need every win you can get and every game is critical.”

Andy Rautins (Syracuse) scored a game-high 18 points, all in three-pointers. Joel Anthony (Montreal) collected a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Carl English (Patrick’s Cove, NF) and Tyler Kepkay (Vancouver) each added 11 in the game.

But Canada’s offence was no match for Puerto Rico’s starting duo of Carlos Arroyo and Larry Ayuso, who each tallied 16 points. The bench also made its mark in the game, led by Filiberto Rivera who netted 13 points, and Guillermo Diaz who added 9.

Despite a tough defensive performance, Puerto Rico managed to take Canada, one of the top shooting countries in the tournament, and hold the team to 43 per cent. Canada was only 10 for 17 from the free throw line, while Puerto Rico made 16 of 21.

In the opening quarter Joel Anthony scored first for Canada. The game went back and forth between Puerto Rico and the Canadians until midway through, when Puerto Rico went on a 6-0 run to make it 13-7. Jermaine Anderson (Toronto) hit two free throws and followed up with a bucket to bring Canada to within four. But Ayuso and Arroyo led the offense for Puerto Rico, scoring 10 and seven respectively, to close the first quarter up nine 23-14.

Canada started the second with increased pressure on the Puerto Ricans, but struggled to make baskets as the Puerto Rican team expanded its lead 34-20. With seven turnovers, Canada was forced to call a time out at the 5:30 mark. English and Rautins helped Canada to add another 10 points, but a hot-handed Rivera came off the bench to give Puerto Rico the lead at the end the half 45-30.

The second half started with Canada playing more aggressively on defense but point guard Anderson got into foul trouble and was forced to sit the rest of the quarter. The foul calls continued as Jesse Young (Peterborough, Ont.) and Coach Rautins were both given technicals. Midway through the third Puerto Rico was leading 55-35 after five free throws. Joel Anthony got a quick two in the paint and Kepkay followed with a long three. But the team went dry as Arroyo and Ayuso continued their shooting show. At the end of three Puerto Rico had increased its lead 65-41.

The fourth quarter was the best for Canada as the team mounted an offensive push, lead by Andy Rautins. While Team Canada scored 29 points in the final quarter, Puerto Rico did not let up, scoring 25 in the period and finishing the game 90-70.

While disappointed in his team's performance, Coach Rautins does not believe in excuses.

“There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself, and I don’t know if our guys felt sorry for themselves not winning yesterday’s game, but there’s no time for that in a tournament like this. Mexico for example lost to us by 55 but then almost won against Uruguay today.”

Up next, the four qualifying teams in Group A (Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Canada and Mexico will compete against the four teams in Group B (Brazil, Argentina, Dominican Republic and Panama). The Quarterfinals run from September 1-4, with the top four teams advancing to the 2010 FIBA World Championship - Schedule TBA.

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