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  • Puerto Rico makes Olympic history

    Prueba el Dream Team la sazón criolla


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Por Víctor Pillot Ortiz
    Enviado especial
    ATENAS , Grecia - Carlos Arroyo portó anoche la Monoestrellada aún más alta que cuando desfiló con ella en los actos inaugurales de estos Juegos Olímpicos.

    El armador de la Selección Nacional armó, dirigió y encabezó el ataque de Puerto Rico en la victoria 92-73 sobre el equipo de Estados Unidos para darle a la Isla la primera victoria en su historia sobre un equipo integrado sólo por jugadores profesionales de la NBA.

    Esa fue apenas la tercera derrota del quinteto estadounidense en unas Olimpiadas. Dos de ellas fueron frente a la desaparecida Unión Soviética.

    Sin embargo, el revés sufrido ayer es el primero de los llamados 'Equipos de Ensueño', conjunto compuesto por enebeístas y que cobró vida en las Olimpiadas de 1992. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, John Stockton y Magic Johnson fueron algunas de las figuras cimeras de ese equipo. Actualmente, los estadounidenses compilan 109 victorias y tres derrotas.

    "Esto significa mucho. Es un gran día para el baloncesto de Puerto Rico", comentó Arroyo. "Fue un juego bien importante para nosotros. Las expectativas de nosotros eran bien grandes. Entramos al juego con mucha hambre de ganar, de dejarle saber al pueblo que el baloncesto de Puerto Rico se tiene que respetar un poco más".

    Y más que respeto por el uniforme que viste fue lo que le enseñó al mundo, cuando fue sacado del partido faltando 1:13 de acción y acto inmediato se agarró la camiseta que en su pecho lee Puerto Rico. Su acción fue captada por fotógrafos internacionales y comentada en múltiples medios noticiosos.

    "Los jugadores hicieron un tremendo trabajo. El equipo vino con buena actitud. Corrimos la ofensiva, nos ayudamos en la defensa e hicimos todo lo que teníamos que hacer para poder salir victoriosos esta noche", agregó.

    "Se que aquí todos están sorprendidos con la victoria, pero nos merecemos esto. Este partido, esta victoria por nuestro esfuerzo y trabajo. Tanto esfuerzo que le hemos puesto a este encuentro".

    Mientras Larry Ayuso, quien encestó 15 puntos, indicó, mientras caminaba hacia la guagua que lo llevaría de regreso a la Villa Olímpica que "Puerto Rico puede ser pequeño, pero tiene un gran corazón".

    Arroyo fue el mejor anotador del partido al colar 24 puntos, al tiempo que lograba siete asistencias y agregaba cuatro cortes de balón en casi 33 minutos de juego.

    "Definitivamente este es uno de los mejores partidos de mi vida. El más emocionante. Pero me estuve preparando mucho para este partido, mentalmente más que físicamente. Gracias al Señor se pudo dar la oportunidad de poder estar en la posición de obtener una victoria", dijo. "Entiendo que hice todo lo posible para ayudar a mi equipo a ganar".

    Luego de que marcara dos tiradas libres para colocar el pizarrón 87-66, Arroyo mostró el nombre de Puerto Rico que está bordado en su camiseta de juego y que le cruza el pecho, tanto a él como a los otros 11 canasteros. "Fue una forma de decir que se siente muy orgulloso de ser puertorriqueño", explicó el dirigente Julio Toro sobre el gesto del canastero.

    "Ese era el mensaje de Carlos de representar a una Isla de cuatro millones de habitantes y que como todo el mundo se siente muy contento y orgulloso de vencer al 'coloso del norte" porque sin duda alguna todo el mundo se mide con el coloso del norte", expresó Toro.

    A pesar de la sorpresiva victoria, los baloncelistas del patio no celebraron demasiado teniendo en cuenta que el torneo olímpico apenas comienza.

    Los boricuas vuelven a la cancha mañana cuando se enfrentan al equipo de Lituania en partido que se celebrará a las 7:30 a.m, hora de Puerto Rico.

    "YA NOSOTROS estamos pensando en la práctica de mañana porque una golondrina no hace primavera. Hay que seguir jugando. Hay que pensar en la segunda ronda. Estamos pensando ya en Lituania. La fiesta seguirá, quizás, por media hora porque una victoria no se puede ver como una victoria individual. Tenemos una visión y unas metas del torneo. Es un juego muy importante para nosotros en relación con las probabilidades que tenemos y dónde vamos a estar... Habla de la ambición que tenemos del torneo", agregó.

    Finalmente, Toro comentó que la defensa en zona fue clave en el triunfo de Puerto Rico. "En ningún momento jugamos uno contra uno", dijo. "Lo que hicimos es un ajuste del 'match up zone' ".

  • #2
    For some reason our team never gets the recognition it deserves. The media has been underestimating us for the past few years even though we have played and beaten the big boys.

    Puerto Rico 92, United States 73
    By CHRIS SHERIDAN, AP Basketball Writer

    August 15, 2004

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Their shots clanged off the rim, smacked the side of the backboard or missed completely. Their best player stared at the floor helplessly as the ball squirted between his legs and rolled away.

    Whatever remained of America's aura of invincibility slipped away, too, in a shocking, lopsided loss that left their coach embarrassed and angry.

    Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson and the rest of the U.S. basketball team fell 92-73 to Puerto Rico on Sunday, only the third Olympic defeat ever -- and first since adding pros -- for the nation that ruled the sport for three-quarters of a century.

    It was by far the worst defeat for a U.S. men's team, coming in the Americans' first game of the Athens Olympics. Having it happen against a team they had dominated in the past 13 months only made it hurt worse.

    ``I'm humiliated, not for the loss -- I can always deal with wins and losses -- but I'm disappointed because I had a job to do as a coach, to get us to understand how we're supposed to play as a team and act as a team, and I don't think we did that,'' Larry Brown said.

    Puerto Rico, which had lost to the Americans five times since last July, led for more than 33 minutes of the 40-minute game, was ahead by 22 at halftime and gamely held off a fourth-quarter comeback for one of the greatest sports achievements in the territory's history.

    ``We're a small island with a big heart,'' guard Elias Ayuso said.

    The loss was a blow to the Americans' confidence, but it did little to hurt their gold medal chances. They need only to finish in the top four of their six-team group to reach the quarterfinals.

    Still, the defeat will go a long way toward giving the competition hope that it's someone else's turn to move to the top of the sport.

    As Carlos Arroyo left the court with just over a minute left, he defiantly pulled at the words ``Puerto Rico'' on his jersey. He led his team with 24 points.

    ``That was him telling his island of 4 million people he was very proud to beat the big colossal from the north,'' Puerto Rico coach Julio Toro said.

    Anyone in America who didn't see this coming hadn't been paying attention to the way international basketball has been changing.

    The U.S. team nearly lost in the semifinals at Sydney on a last-second shot by Lithuania, then dropped three games on its home turf at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis -- the first losses ever by a U.S. team of NBA professionals.

    This year's team, weakened by defections and rejections of 12 top players, had opened its pre-Olympic tour of Europe with a 17-point loss to Italy and a last-second victory over Germany -- a pair of games in which their vulnerability to a tight zone defense was clearly exposed.

    Puerto Rico exploited that weakness, too, and the Americans could do next to nothing against the strategy.

    After Lamar Odom made a 3-pointer for the U.S. team's first points, the Americans missed 16 straight from behind the arc. They tried to get the ball inside, but Puerto Rico collapsed several defenders into the paint and made life difficult for the U.S. team's best player, Duncan. He and Iverson led the team in scoring with 15 points apiece.

    American teams had been 24-0 since the professional Olympic era began with the 1992 Dream Team, but now there is a blemish on their record to go with two losses to the Soviet Union in the 1972 gold medal game and the 1988 semifinals.

    ``I think Puerto Rico right now is celebrating big because of this,'' Arroyo said. ``By far it's the happiest victory of my career.''

    The Americans handled the loss with grace, congratulating their opponents and joining them in a huddle at center court before both teams exited to a standing ovation.

    The U.S Olympic team's record now stands at 109-3.

    ``Anybody watching that game who enjoys basketball should get a thrill out of it,'' Brown said. ``From our perspective, all we can do is figure out what we're made of. I'm anxious to see if we'll be able to do that.''

    The Americans shot only 35 percent, finished 3-for-24 from 3-point range and had nearly as many turnovers (22) as field goals (26).

    ``We couldn't hit anything. I shot two off the side of the backboard. Never in my life have I done that,'' Richard Jefferson said. ``This was a worst-case scenario.''

    Puerto Rico was 8-for-16 from long range and 31-55 (56 percent) overall to help negate the Americans' 46-27 edge in rebounding.

    After Odom's 3, Puerto Rico backed off and dared the Americans to hit from behind the arc. They didn't, missing eight 3s over the rest of the quarter to trail 21-20.

    When Duncan and Iverson sat down in the second quarter, Puerto Rico simply outclassed the Americans' young reserves. (Stephon Marbury scored just two points, Carlos Boozer added one.) Arroyo drove past two defenders for a layup that made it 35-22, and the Americans were suddenly on their heels.

    ``International basketball is so different from the NBA,'' Jose Ortiz said. ``They probably didn't know because of how young they are. I saw them a little panicked, but they were down 20 points, what can you do?''

    Whistles and jeers greeted the Americans as they emerged from the locker room after halftime, but the crowd gave them some support when they tried to get back in the game in the third quarter. But each time the Americans tried to make a run, Puerto Rico had an answer.

    ``They play the game the way it's supposed to be played,'' Iverson said. ``It's not about athletics. That's the game the way Karl Malone and John Stockton play it. It's good for kids to see how the game is supposed to be played.''

    Now, it's up to the Americans to show whether they can play that way, too.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hala Waneka

      What a game my friend!! What a game!

      I have to tell you, I don't know if they would have pulled that off if Jordan, Shaq, or Magic would have been on the court.

      Congratulacions!! we'll definitely be seeing you guys next year

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Hala Waneka

        Originally posted by Leela
        What a game my friend!! What a game!

        I have to tell you, I don't know if they would have pulled that off if Jordan, Shaq, or Magic would have been on the court.

        Congratulacions!! we'll definitely be seeing you guys next year

        Thanks. However, I disagree. Had Jordan and Magic played yeterday... LOL.

        Hopefully, for both of our sakes, you'll only have to wait for the sem-finals and not until next year.

        Comment


        • #5
          I see...Waneko

          I watch the games with my brothers and dad.

          I didn't realize there would be semifinals...well, well then.. I will definitely see you there. Court side!

          Don't worry we won't be staring...and watching the balls between our legs...

          Comment


          • #6
            As Carlos Arroyo left the court with just over a minute left, he defiantly pulled at the words ``Puerto Rico'' on his jersey. He led his team with 24 points.
            Woo hoo! Go Puerto Rico!

            ``That was him telling his island of 4 million people he was very proud to beat the big colossal from the north,'' Puerto Rico coach Julio Toro said.
            Not to mention the millions of boricuas on the mainland.

            Comment


            • #7


              HACIA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE BORICUAS, VENCEREMOS!
              SOY PUERTORRIQUENO Y PUNTO; Y REALISTA SOCIAL!

              A SMALLER CAN BEAT A BIGGER; THE PUERTO RICAN
              BASKETBALL TEAM PROVED THAT!

              AGARREN EL DIA BORICUAS, VENCEREMOS OTRA VEZ!

              EL GOLIATE DEL NORTE NO ES INVINCIBLE!

              NOW LET'S GET ON THE BALL POLITICALLY BY SUPPORTING
              AN INDEPENDENT AND SOVEREIGN'ISLA-NACION DE PUERTO RICO!

              IT IS 'NUESTRA ISLA-NACION DE PUERTO RICO' AND DOES NOT
              BELONG TO THE GOLIATE DEL NORTE (U.S.A) NOR TO ANYONE
              ELSE ON THE FACE OF THIS EARTH, EXCEPT TO US THE
              PUERTORRIQUENOS!
              E.1: TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK - V.I. Lenin

              Comment


              • #8
                Felicitaciones

                Comment


                • #9
                  Winning against the U.S. has sparked a debate on some sports forums. Puerto Rico plays like a TEAM... not like the NBA Superstars that play for their own individual glory. I'm glad they brought that up cause it only serves to show the world that we are a group-oriented people who have the ability to communicate effectively amongst ourselves.

                  On one of the Hoops forum some ******* said they can't wait til we become a state so they can raid our rosters. Fukk having a team of our own. Now that we have something they WANT... they're poised and ready. Arrogance seems to be all I have know the U.S. to have a lot of.

                  I lost 3 family members in the WTC on 9-11 and this ridiculous "War on Terror" to supposedly "free" Iraq and Afghanistan has done nothing but make me feel so un-proud to be an American... er, I mean a forced U.S. "citizen". I used to love the fact that we (EVEN as a conquered nation) could still be on "friendly" terms with the U.S. But, many of my family members, who have fought for the U.S. in all their wars since WWII on down to Iraq, are upset over the way the United Snakes conducts its business with the rest of the world. They continuously do things solely to benefit themselves. The U.S. has gotten "fat" from sucking the REST of America dry... one of the reasons why we remain so economically dependent on them... as if we exist simply to make our northern neighbor HAPPY and RICH. All this crazy shyt runs against our grain as a peace-loving social people with dignity.

                  I am glad David slew Goliath... that sure does have a humbling effect. Even though we didn't get the gold, I think this win has done a lot to boost our morales. Puerto Rico jamas se perdirá entre los 50 esclavos del gobierno mas terrorista del mundo. We may not have our nation yet, but we still have our Olympic team and our OWN Miss Puerto Rico, as well.

                  [Edited by Juracan21 on 22nd August 2004 at 01:09]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Juracan21
                    I lost 3 family members in the WTC on 9-11 and this ridiculous "War on Terror" to supposedly "free" Iraq and Afghanistan has done nothing but make me feel so un-proud to be an American... er, I mean a forced U.S. "citizen".
                    *****************************************************

                    My belated condolences, Juracan21.

                    And Bush and his crazy administration had foreknowledge that the event was going to happen, and did nothing, because he wanted an event so huge that he could exploit it in order to attack Iraq and steal its huge oil reserves.

                    Also he proved his evilness in attacking Iraq like Atilla the Hun in High Tech with all those "smart missiles", 3 days of horror that set the human race back almost a thousand years. No wonder the law enforcement agencies of the political police and central intelligence agencies let leak that they thought that the Bush administration "were a bunch of crazies". Bush, IMHO, is the greatest terrorist of all!
                    E.1: TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK - V.I. Lenin

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      wow, that's really deep huracan. I am sorry about what you and your family went through.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Puerto Rico Basketball

                        Hi everyone. I want to say how proud i am that our Island is finally getting recognition. I hope this is just a stepping stone in our way to greater things. PUERTO RICO PARA SIEMPRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          congrats on the win

                          I'm not proud of the war on terror.

                          Sadly we Americans are giving up freedoms on this war on terror.

                          I had 4 forms of ID one day but because of a new law I needed my drivers licence to make a small deposit in to the bank.

                          I had my college ID with picture. A work badge. An old drivers licence I found looking for my current one. Okay I may have only had three forms of ID. But they were all picture IDs and the bank admitted that they knew my identiy but because of the war on terriosm and the patriot act .. .

                          The terriorist were pilots not passangers in the airplain correct?

                          Had I been a terriorist planning something against the bank I would have been working at the bank not trying to put in a few dollars!!!!

                          Growing up I was always told that Puerto Rico would be our 51st state.

                          Arrogant? Perhaps.

                          Anyway, congrats on the win!!! And as far as I'm concerned PR would have made a great state long ago. But if you want independence that is also cool. I would also welcome New Zealand to the Union.

                          I do agree the USA over reacted in it's war on terror. We should do more to protect our chearished right then pass bad laws that reduce or freedoms in the name of doing something.

                          Comment

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