Caracas, Venezuela - Puerto Rico defeated Brazil, 72-65 and started on the right foot their way in Group A of the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship in Caracas, Venezuela. In a game that had many errors, with a loose effectiveness in the releases of the two teams. The best scorer for the winners was Renaldo with 24 points.
Carlos Arroyo and Jose Juan Barea gave Puerto Rico the first lead of the game (10-4), the first with a triple and the second with two breaks through the defense of Brazil. John Holland completed that good stretch by Puerto Rico with a tray backlash and stretched with a triple from a corner after a well-attended Barea (15-8). Within a rather erratic process of both teams, Puerto Rico took the 15-12 segment .
At the start of the second quarter, a stretch of disorganization by the Brazil defense allowed Puerto Rico to escape to a 7 point lead (21-14), with a Holland dunk and a Barea's penetration through the back door of the Brazilian defense. From there they exchanged baskets. Renaldo Balkman and Holland led Puerto Rico to a 29-19, but Brazil reacted, revitalized on defense and a good income from Vitor Benite, who was important to the 10-0 run that, tied the game at 29. A basket by Larry Ayuso from the field ended the first half, 31-29 in favor of Puerto Rico.
Benite conversions and Huertas Guilherme opened the door for Brazil to come forward, 40-35 in the third quarter, before a listless game from Puerto Rico, which was lost in that segment. The ball movement from Brazil was another and always found a well- profiled player to score. Thus Benite continued adding, this time from the perimeter (44-37). However, Puerto Rico’s nap woke slowly and with the power of Holland and Balkman, scoredto drop the Brazilian advantage to one (49-48). Guilherme , with a double over , put the score 51-48 at the end of the third quarter .
In the final quarter, Puerto Rico confirmed what was hinted briefly and returned to leadership, and built on good offensive combinations between Barea, Daniel Santiago and Balkman to get a 4 point difference (57-53). And in the last minute, Brazil stalked with a triple by Alex Garcia (62-61), Balkman put Puerto Rico on his back, and became greater than all in the paint and scored 5 points in a row (67-61), including a huge dunk. Thus, Puerto Rico defined the game and took a win in the debut.
For Puerto Rico, Renaldo Balkman scored 24 points and 8 rebounds, followed by John Holland, with 15 points and 9 rebounds, and Jose Juan Barea, with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists . For Brazil, the best was Marcelinho Huertas, with 16 points and 5 assists.
Tomorrow, at 13.30 (time of Venezuela), Puerto Rico faces Canada, while Brazil has a free day.