Puerto Rico 72, Canada 66
August 30, 2007 ï¿½ Las Vegas, Nevada
Carlos Arroyo's game-high 22 points, including four three-pointers carried surging Puerto Rico to a 72-66 victory over Canada in each team's Second Round Finale at the FIBA Americas Championships 2007.
With the win, Puerto Rico advances to face the winner of United States vs. Argentina.
Canada connected on just 6-of-23 from three-point range on a night when Puerto Rico connected on 12-of-30 triples.
David Thomas posted 18 points and Samuel Dalembert collected 18 rebounds in a losing effort for Canada.
Notes: Canada completed tournament play with an overall mark of 4-4
MANOLO CINTRON, PUERTO RICO HEAD COACH
How does it feel knowing that you are now in the semifinals?
We are happy for this second chance that Argentina gave us. Our team came together in this second round; we worked well with our rotation, and it all ended up well. I do this for the love of the game, for my co-workers, and for Puerto Rico. Our goal was to just work hard for Puerto Rico, and the results came out great.
Can you comment on Arroyo's performance?
Arroyo had great performances in the past four games, and that is why he is in the NBA. I think today was a collective effort though. At the last few minutes, we just worked on not panicking and concentrating on the game. Thanks to God we now have this victory.
CARLOS ALBERTO ARROYO BERMUDEZ, PUERTO RICO
Can you comment about this second round?
We obviously have to give thanks to the Argentinean National Team for giving us our second chance. We knew that coming into this second round, we had to take care of business right away. It was a gift that basketball gave us, and we understood how important this opportunity was for us. This second round was essential for us, especially since we went to win three games. I think those winnings show what a great team we have.
Do you think Puerto Rico still has chance to go to the Olympic Games?
Yes. We still have a game to play against the U.S. It's been proven before that anything is possible. We are all on the same page, and we believe in Puerto Rico. I think that if we go into the game thinking that we already lost, we will loose. But again, anything is possible and we will work hard to make that happen. We have to play with a lot of pride and respect for what we are playing and representing. We have support here from our fans that came all the way from PR. We have to believe that we can win that game. We know we will be playing against a very talented home team, but we will play hard.
Can you comment of JJ's performance?
I personally think that this summer has helped JJ a lot; it gave him a lot of experience. He played great in the summer league with Dallas and in the Pan American Games in Brazil. He is still young and has a lot to learn, but he is a very smart player who understands the game. He is key for this team, and we need him to play at this level every night. I think he is the future of this team.
LEO RAUTINS, HEAD COACH CANADA
Free throw shooting stands out tonight, just some comments on where that left you in the end.
You're talking a good game, a close game and 12 free throws [missed], and even jump shots, if anything you have to wonder if the tournament finally caught up with us. Those are shots that I will have those guys shoot anytime, very confident in our guys, those are shots our guys usually make. Usually free throws are a pretty good indication when you're hitting front rim all the time, it's a pretty good indication you might have to come close to making them all.
Talk about the tournament in general.
I think we all got a little greedy. We came here, like everybody else, the top two spots give you an automatic bid and that is what we want. Realistically, based on our experience stage of our team and other factors, we knew that top five gets us where we need to be. We are going to be a year older, better, stronger, bigger next year. That was the realistic goal. Obviously once you are in it and you're playing, you're competing, you're in it, you want it. I think all man-for-man wanted it badly, but ultimately I'm proud of our guys. The door hasn't closed, the door has swung wide open and now we're exactly where we want to get to for next year.
DAVID THOMAS, CANADA
Can you talk about the tournament?
If you look at the boxscore, I got better over the tournament. We want to get better as a team. Coach brought up some points today, there is an article in the paper back home that we don't have any stars. Every night somebody else was picking it up. Tonight I guess you can call me that star because I scored a couple points.
We definitely wanted one of the top two spots, we fought for it, we're still alive, now we're refocusing on next summer.