The men’s wheelchair basketball quarterfinals at Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games unfolded in captivating fashion, setting the stage for what promises to be an exhilarating semi-final round. The teams that have advanced – USA, Colombia, Canada, and Argentina – showcased their prowess in battles that ranged from comfortable victories to intense showdowns against fierce rivals.
USA Dominates, Secures Semi-Final Berth
The defending champions, USA, delivered a commanding performance, 88-14 over the hosts Chile, to secure their spot in the semi-finals. With a display of precision and teamwork, they dominated their opponents, underscoring their status as a formidable force in wheelchair basketball. The question now is whether they can maintain their momentum against a determined Argentinean team in the semi-finals.
Colombia’s Defense Earns Semi-Final Spot
Colombia’s journey to the semi-finals was marked by a solid defensive effort. Facing Venezuela, the Colombian team demonstrated their all-round game both in offense and defense, securing a place in the semi-finals with a 70-22 victory. The stage is set for a thrilling matchup against the Canadian squad.
Colombia’s Jhoan Vargas reflects on his teams progress in the tournament so far:
“There are many feelings, including happiness because we are closer to meeting our objectives such as qualification for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games and medalists for the Para PanAmerican Games, pride in what it means to represent wheelchair basketball in our country in this type of events, but the most important is the motivation that the entire team has due to the great performance that the entire team has shown thanks to the unity of the team and its mental strength.
“The entire group is happy with the performance we have shown during this Championship, we have shown very interesting things such as the intensity in each of the games, we highlight the defensive work of the team, a very organized defense with good communication. The planning that has been proposed prior to the games has been vital since we can recognize the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents.”
Looking ahead to the semi-final against Canada he added:
“We know the strengths of the Canadian team, they have experienced and very talented players like Anderson and Goncin, we have had the opportunity to watch the games during this event and the last World Championship in which the Canadian team participated in order to analyze its possible weaknesses. This is going to be a very mental and intense game. We must take advantage of each of the opportunities that the Canadian team gives us, but we must be very calm and concentrated to be able to be in the final that we want so much.”
Canada’s Comfortable Victory Sets Semi-Final Stage
Canada continued their impressive run in the tournament, securing a comfortable victory against Puerto Rico (88-31) that solidified their place in the semi-finals. The Canadian team will now face off against Colombia in a matchup that holds the promise of intense competition.
Argentina Triumphs Over Brazil
The highlight of the quarterfinals was Argentina’s clash against fierce rivals Brazil. In a closely contested first half, Argentina and Brazil were neck and neck. However, the Argentinean team seized control in the second half, securing a thrilling victory and claiming the final spot in the semi-finals. Their dream of Paris 2024 qualification remains alive as they prepare to face the formidable USA.
Argentina’s Carlos Alberto Esteche said:
“Reaching the semi-final in this tournament, amidst the high level of competition, fills us with pride. With the Argentine team, we’ve devoted considerable effort toward our significant objective—qualifying for the Paralympics. For us, each game is approached as if it were a final. While facing the formidable USA will be challenging, given their World Champion status, it won’t be impossible. We will hit the court with intelligence and great intensity.”
Semi-Final Matchups: USA vs. Argentina, Canada vs. Colombia
With the stage now set, the semi-final matchups promise to be exhilarating. USA will face Argentina, while Canada meet Colombia. As the tournament progresses, the men’s wheelchair basketball teams are not just playing for a spot in the championship game but also for the chance to represent their nations in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Men’s Semi-Final Schedule – Friday 24 November 2023
- 10:30 – CAN vs COL
- 12:45 – USA vs ARG
Photo Credits: Javier Vergara/ Parapanamericanos Stgo 2023 via Photosport