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PUERTO RICO SEEKS TO QUALIFY FOR THE OLYMPICS AFTER 20 YEARS OF ABSENCE HAVING PARTICIPATED IN ITS LAST OLYMPIC GAMES

PR's National Basketball Team that played in the 2013 Mundo Basket - Image Credit: FBPUR

By David Colón with collaboration from Roberto Arias

In 1964, Puerto Rico achieved fourth place in the World Olympics in Tokyo, Japan; 40 years later, (2004) the Puerto Ricans became the first team to beat the US Dream Team, in Athens, Greece, and to have participated in the Olympics.

The opportunities have been there, but history seems to favor the Magnificent 12, as Puerto Ricans know their stellar team of the 12 that represent the island nation. In the opinion of the National Team directors, a couple of factors emerge that can tip the balance in favor of the islanders, among which Puerto Rico will be the headquarters of one of the four places seeking their Olympic passport.

Of the six countries that will play in the city of San Juan, from July 2 to 7 at the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum, better known as “El Choliseo”, in terms of the pros and cons, the fact that competing in the country of the host team, there is a tendency of an advantage, one that can tip the balance in favor of Puerto Rico, although not always, the trends are met.

“Historically, these factors can favor the host country, but we are not focusing on that alone, but we have put together a compact selection of 12 worthy quality players who did their best to meet the goal of achieving Olympic qualification, for the first time. once in 20 years,” said Yum Ramos, president of the National Federation.

Like Ramos, coach Nelson Colón understands that Puerto Rico, which played a good World Cup tournament last year in the Philippines, comes with a stronger core that includes José Alvarado, player of the Pelican (New Orleans), and ex-NBA, Gian Clavel, who returns to The Selection of the 12, after having had a good season in Europe. The managers believe that the Puerto Rican backcourt is more compact, although Markus Howard, an excellent scorer and three-pointer, will not be able to play due to a family situation (his wife will give birth in those days).

Tremont Waters playing against Brazil in 2013. (Photo FIBA)

The Magnificent 12 of Puerto Rico will be: Tremont Waters, Jordan Howard and José Alvarado, Davon Reed, Gian Clavel, Stephen Thompson, Jr., Isaiah Piñeiro, Chris Ortíz, Aleem Ford, Ysmael Romero, Armaldo Toro and George Conditt IV,  head coach, Nelson Colón.

Puerto Rico is currently in the FIBA ​​ranking. They are ranked #16 and came in 11th place in the last Mundo Basket.

Along with Puerto Rico, they will be looking for the only position available at this headquarters in San Juan: Lithuania, which could be the favorites, and rank 10th in the world; Italy, 13th in the world, made it into the top eight last year, P.R., #16, Mexico #25 Ivory Coast #31 and Bahrain #67.

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