Originally to be held in Mexico, the competition has since been moved to Puerto Rico. The most important aspect about this competition is that it will also act as the Qualifying round for North, Central & South American region for next years World Championship to be held in Turkey.
Last Hurrah of the Golden Generation?
When the curtain was brought down in Beijing last year, it was clear that the time for the team of this decade is coming to a closure. These next few years might just be the final chapter in what has been glorious career for them (gold in Athens’04 being the pinnacle). But still I wouldn’t say that our NT is a spend force as there is still some unfinished business left in what we must look forward too.
Some Familiar Faces, Some New Faces
As expected coach Sergio FERNANDEZ was bound to take a team without the big names. Manu GINOBILI, Andres NOCIONI., Carlos DELFINO & Fabricio OBERTO for some reason have opted out for this campaign.
Here are the final squad details.
Juan Pablo CANTERO (Atenas)
Pablo PRIGIONI (Real Madrid)
Paolo QUINTEROS (CAI Zaragoza)
Diego GARCIA (Burgos)
Sebastián Matías SANDES (Fuenlabrada)
Federico KAMMERICHS (Regatas)
Luis SCOLA (Houston Rocktets)
Leonardo GUTIERREZ (Penarol)
Leonardo MAINOLDI (Fuenlabrada)
Andrés PELUSSI, (Libertad)
Román GONZALEZ (Quimsa)
Juan Pedro GUTIERREZ (CB Granada)
On paper, it is quite a formidable team that is capable of completing the task. SCOLA and PRIGIONI are the best name in their respective position in the entire competition. Remember both of them played together with Tau Ceramica in Spain. Their pick-n-roll combination was a huge success there.
QUNITEROS will be starting shooting guard in the absence of Manu. I remember him being outstanding against USA and Lithuania in Beijing. The Big Guy, GONZALEZ will start at center while KAMMERICHS looks likely to take up the small forward role. With this line up, SCOLA will once again lead the offense as he did tremendously two years in Las Vegas.
Among the new names in my opinion are CANTERO and PELUSSI. While the rest of the squad have featured for the NT in the past.
Is It All Bad News?
No I wouldn’t say that.
One of the good news is that there is NO team USA. They have earned an automatic spot by virtue of winning gold in Beijing and decided not to take part in this campaign. Meaning the competition is all open for the rest to play for.
On top of that, FIBA Americas will have four slot available for next years World Championship. This means as long as our boys make it to the semis, they’re there already.
Our fierce rival Brazil is most likely to be the favourite to captured the crown as they do have their big names from the NBA available. Then again so it was two years yet they still choke when it matter the most. So you’ll never know what might happen.
As for the rest; the host, Canada, Dominican Republic could be the tough proposition to play against with. Besides them, I don’t see that much of threat from the rest of the pack. We will follow the entire the tournament from here.