Day 3 Men: PUR 83 - ANG 80
Puerto Rico barely escapes from Angola
ATHENS - The spectre of another surprise in Olympic Men's Basketball pervaded soldoout Helliniko Indoor Arena for a couple hours on Thursday afternoon, until Puerto Rico finally escaped with an 83-80 victory over valiant Angola.
Puerto Rico (2-1) stays in the hunt to advance to the quarterfinals from Group B, while Angola drops to 0-3.
Angola led by six points after the first shot of the final quarter and was down just one in the final minute, but Carlos ARROYO again resolved things for Puerto Rico with a driving scoop shot in traffic that proved the game-winner with 23 seconds left.
Elias AYUSO scored all his 17 points after halftime to lead Puerto Rico. ARROYO and Daniel SANTIAGO added 16 each and Eddie CASIANO 15, including a 3-pointer with 1:05 to play that erased Angola's last lead.
Antonio DE CARVALHO made four of Angola's 15 three-pointers and finished with 14 points. In the game's closing moments, he injured his ankle and left, as did guard Miguel LUTONDA after scoring 11 points. Abdel MOUSAA had 11 more and Edmar VICTORIANO 10 for Angola.
Puerto Rico stayed one step ahead of Angola, but rarely more than that, early in the game. Up 14-7 thanks to five points each from SANTIAGO and ARROYO, Puerto Rico started seeing the first signs of Angola's shooting prowess. Valter MONTEIRO and DE CARVALHO (ANG) struck from downtown to keep their team close at 19-17 after 10 minutes.
Puerto Rico reestablished control with a 12-1 run to open the second quarter that featured four points by CASIANO. Angolan big man MOUSSA started applying himself inside then and kept Angola within 37-32 at the half.
Angola made its move midway through the third quarter with five consecutive 3-pointers. LUTONDA landed wrong and hurt his ankle on the first one. Angelo VICTORIANO buried three, the last of which got Angola a one-point lead that it would expand to 65-63 after 30 minutes.
When the fourth quarter started with another long-distance strike from DE CARVALHO, the 12,000-strong crowd started changing "An-GO-la, An-GO-la!" Casiano quieted them with 5 points in a 9-0 run that got Puerto Rico's lead back, 72-69. With 5:00 left, DE CARVALHO hit a turnaround triple from the corner to rock the house and put Angola back in front, 76-74. The last tie, at 78-78, was broken by CASIANO and then ARROYO drove for the deciding basket.
|Press conference quotes:|
Daniel SANTIAGO, Center (PUR)
On the key of the game:
"When we managed to block the three-point shots we accomplished the win. Angola has great shooters especially from 6,25 m.."
On his opponents:
"They know each other style of play, most of them are playing in the same Championship and they play like a team."
On the way to the quarterfinals:
"We had to win today, and we did it. We are very close to the next phase, but nothing is accomplished yet. We have to win in the next two matches in order to be sure."
Eddie CASIANO, guard (PUR)
On his crucial three-pointer:
"It was a shot that I usually take in all circumstances. It wasn't something special but it helped us a lot to seal the win."
On his opponents:
"Angola has many athletic players and it's a tough team to beat, especially if you aren't in your best day and at the same time they are scoring from everywhere. It was difficult to find the space to shoot, because everytime there was a wall to climb. I am glad we made it and now we have to be concetrated for the next two games, which are very important."
Larry Elias AYUSO, guard (PUR)
On his contribution:
"In the first half I couldn't find my rythm and I was completely out of the game. In the second half I started penetrate into the basket, that's why I got some calls and hit some free-throws to get hot. Thank God, we managed to escape with the win and that is the only positive thing we have to remember from ths game."
Joaquim GOMES, forward (ANG)
On the game:
"We wanted to win but we didn't make it. We were very close to our first victory but in the last seconds we were not so good in the small things."
On the tournament:
"The level of the teams is not so high but the competition is great. It is full of surprises."
|Press conference quotes:|
Valter MONTEIRO, Guard (ANG)
On the game:
"In my point of view we played a great game, a tough game to the end. Puerto Rico came out winners, we lost. Such is life. It's not easy for us to get a win here. We play against the best teams in the world, and if you lose concentration for one minute you can lose by 20 points. And we must think positive. Although we fight against teams much taller and experienced than us, we don't think at all that our games are lost before we play them. We fight, and people cheer us, as happened today in this beautiful gym."
On comparing the 1992 Dream Team to today's Team USA:
"One of our players, Angelo VICTORIANO, who was present in the 1992 Olympic Games, told us that the experience of playing against the Dream Team could be compared to fighting gladiators. They were perfect as a team. It's not the case for today's Team USA, which is not unbeatable."
Eddie CASIANO, Guard (PUR)
"It was a hard game against a very athletic team. They beat us on the offensive boards and broke our defense, but we managed to adjust and give them no easy penetrations. Every game is different, with its ups and downs, and we have to react to all situations arising. I like taking the last shots, because I am very confident as a person. It's natural my teammates look for me to take them, since I am one of the oldest and most experienced players in the squad."
Mario PALMA, Head Coach (ANG)
On the game:
"We had a chance to win. But we lost our best player, point guard Miguel LUTONDA, to injury. He is probably not going to play again in the tournament. And since we had more injury problems during the game at the backcourt (Antonio CARVALHO and Walter COSTA), Puerto Rico put the pressure on us in the last 3 minutes and managed to get the win. We needed some luck and we had none. We lost on a great shot by CASIANO, but we made a huge mistake not to switch on him in that play. Puerto Rico had the experience, and a very good coach. Our players don't play more than 10-12 competitive games a year. The games between the two teams are always tight. Two years ago, in the World Championships, they needed double overtime to beat us. I am happy with the performance of my players in this tournament, I don't think they could have played better than that."
On the upcoming game against Greece:
"They are a good team. They use full-court press. Their game is simple but well-executed. They also have a great center in (Lazaros) PAPADOPOULOS. And they have a chance to get to the final four. It's going to be a different game from this one. It's important for us to play well, even without our injured players."
Julio TORO, Head Coach (PUR)
"Good game, close game, as is the case in the last 15 years, when the two teams meet each other. Angola is a very complicated team as far as their style of play is concerned. We started weak, and except Eddie (CASIANO) our shooters were not in the best of their game. This kind of games gives you more strength. Now we have a crucial one against Australia, and it will be not easy at all to play them at 9 am. We must get a result, and will work on our strong points to get it."
Source: Athens news serices