Canada and USA to Battle it Out for Gold at FIBA U18 Americas Championship
Host Team and Americas Leader Confirm Gold Medal Matchup Friday Night
Canada led by six points against Puerto Rico with a score of 95-89, cementing the host team’s trip to the finals.
Team Canada forward Emanuel Miller gave the crowd a show, scoring 31 points and notching 14 rebounds in 36 minutes of play.
“For me to be the player that I want to be I had to work hard on my weaknesses and turn them into strengths, I practice my shots a lot”, said Miller.
His teammate, point guard Andrew Nemphard who happens to be number one among point guards nationwide had an equally strong performance, with 14 points, 17 assists, and five rebounds. Guards Addison Patterson and AJ. Lawson combined for a total of 30 points and seven rebounds.
Forward and Quebec native, Tyrese Samuel was also part of the team. He put up a total of 11 points and seven rebounds, assisting the team in earning a solid win against Puerto Rico. “It feels good to be here, coming from Quebec meant that I have a chip on my shoulder, it means a lot, I’m just trying to show up and do good for my province,” said Samuel when asked about how it feels to be the only Canadian athlete from Quebec playing in the tournament.
On the other side of things, Puerto Rico fell short against Canada despite their continuous efforts to earn a trip to the finals. Power forward Jorge Torres and shooting guard Alejandro Vasquez executed a relentless offense, with a combined 30 points and 18 rebounds in just under 30 minutes on the floor.
Team USA’s guard Alec White helped his team beat Argentina 104-92, scoring 28 points and potting 8 rebounds, provoking the team to advance to the finals, leaving Argentina behind.
White wasn’t the only catalyst for team USA; guard Quentin Grimes scored 26 points and 8 rebounds, while forwards Matthew Hurt and guard Quamdeen Dosunmu managed a combined 29 points. Despite the fact that team USA is one of the best in the world, head coach Bill Self felt that the team still wasn’t playing exactly the way he hoped they would.
“We’ve got to be more patient offensively,” said coach Self.
Argentinian center Francisco Caffaro did a respectable job, scoring 22 points and six rebounds. Point guard Juan Ignacio Marcos and shooting guard Juan De La Fuente each netted 17 points, totalling for 34 points, seven assists and six rebounds, however their efforts were simply not enough to take down the Goliath that was this year’s USA squad.
Puerto Rico and Argentina will have a chance to redeem themselves in hopes of bringing home the bronze medal.
The Dominican Republic and Chile will be competing for the fifth overall spot, and the seventh spot will be granted to either Ecuador or Panama.
Last year, the St-Catharines region won the bid to host the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for the first time. This opportunity not only allows for an exclusive at-home experience for an enthusiastic Canadian fan base but it also offers the Niagara region a chance to prepare for the Canada games which will be hosted in the same sector in 2021.
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