Mexico No Match For Argentina U18 Men In Opener
June 26, 2010 - San Antonio, Texas
Argentina (1-0) easily dispatched Mexico (0-1) 78-53 in the third game of Saturday's FIBA Americas U18 Championship opening round at Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas. The young Argentine men had four players score in double digits, led by Fernando Podesta's double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Also hitting for double digits were Marcos Delia with 12 points, while Juan Jose Giaveno and Pablo Ignacio Perez each chipped in 11 points.
"We knew Mexico would give us a defensive game so we had to be prepared," said Argentina head coach Edeardo Japez. "Even though their defense was a bit off, the team had patience to get through it and we were to get an advantage and make sixty five points. Now we are going to confront Virgin Islands and we are looking to win again. It's our objective to win; we know that it is a game where both teams are all in, and we have to be prepared to play hard."
It didn't take long for Argentina, which has the No. 1 overall men's program in the world according to FIBA's ranking, to put the game away. Five minutes into the contest, with the score even at 4-all, Argentina found its rhythm and outscored Mexico 11-2 to go up 15-6 at the end of the first quarter.
By halftime the game was in the bag, 35-12. In the first half alone Argentina picked up five steals, held Mexico to a frigid 19.2 percent shooting from the field, including 0-of-13 from beyond the arc, and outrebounded Mexico 27-11.
"It was a hard game physically, but we had come already prepared and we knew that Mexico was going to give us their zone," said Podesta. "We had in mind to win the first game, and we did."
Argentina let up in the second half, but never let Mexico back in the game. By the end of the third quarter the Argentines were up 51-32 and outscored Mexico 26-21 in the final stanza.
The fact that the Argentina team is playing in the city that countryman and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Manu Ginobli calls his North American home is not lost on players or coaches.
"It's incredible, because he is an idol and growing up you see him playing and to meet him; it's something beautiful," said Podesto. "He took us to eat, he was with us and looked like a part of us, one of the guys. One tries to take advantage of what he tries to teach you."