The 2018 Men’s Central Americas and Caribbean Championships “CentroBasket Costa Rica 2018” got underway on Monday (22nd October). Six teams participating are Mexico, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Defending champions Mexico opened their campaign with a win over Nicaragua, 75-54, it was a close opening half as Nicaragua trailed by only three points at the break, 33-30. The second half belonged to Mexico as they tightened their hold on the game in the third and boosted the extra confidence ran away with the game to win by 21 points.
Mexico Head Coach, Pablo Larraga, said “Our first game was a little bit tight, but it was a good match, fortunately, the boys started to get a run and little by little things were happening. We are using this championship to give an opportunity to our young players (from 17 – 20 years old), we the aim to achieve qualification to Lima 2019 and we are confident of being able to take this team to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.”
The second games El Salvador were up against Puerto Rico, where the Puerto Ricans showed all their power and achieved a resounding victory with a score of 59-35.
Puerto Rico’s Head Coach Armando Belaval said “The first game was little erratic at first as we went a little out of pace despite what we practiced last Sunday, but the height affected us, as it has to some teams in this type of tournaments at the beginning there is much anxiety.”
In the final game of the day, hosts Costa Rica produced a stellar performance to overcome the Dominican Republic in a confident victory, 70-24.
Costa Rica’s José Pablo Gil expressed how this was one of the most important matches for the team, saying, “This was a match that was very complicated and I’m happy we occupied the victory. We had to show what we have been working on a daily basis in training and I’m really happy to have taken win and I’m also very happy for my many teammates who had the chance to debut and have this new experience.”
The action resumes on Tuesday 23rd October in the National Gymnasium with the second day of the CentroBasket Costa Rica 2018, starting at 2.00pm between the teams of Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, this will be followed by the Opening Ceremony at 5.00pm. Mexico will take on El Salvador at 6:00pm, in the second game and closing the action hosts Costa Rica meet Puerto Rica starting at 8:00pm.