By John Ledesma

The first day of the FIBA Americas 2013 tournament wasn’t a very exciting one.

Canada easily took care of Jamaica via a blowout, and Argentina took it even further to Paraguay. The game of the day was definitely Puerto Rico versus Brasil, where two heavy candidates to get a medal and a trip to Spain’s 2014 world championships, faced off.

Canada 85, Jamaica 64

Andy Rautins started the game hitting two three-pointers for Canada and they never trailed after that. Cory Joseph struggled shooting the ball early, but still lead Canada in scoring with 17 points.

Jamaica showed signs of life in the third quarter, as they cut the lead down to 10 points. However, Canada was too much to handle and they won by 21. After some disappointing exhibitions games, Canada looked like a totally different team against Jamaica.

Argentina 95, Paraguay 60

This was over after the first quarter.

Argentina had seven players in double figures, and Luis Scola wasn’t one of them, as he ended up with just nine points on the day. Paraguay trailed by 15 after one, and 27 after two. They outscored Argentina by two in the third, only to lose the fourth by double-figures (10 points).

With the win, Argentina was able to give rest to Scola, their best player, as they prepare to face the Dominican Republic next. Paraguay wasn’t expected to compete in the tournament, and they showed exactly why.

Puerto Rico 72, Brasil 65

This was the most competitive game of the day.

Puerto Rico was ahead by as much as 10, but Brasil fought back and even took the lead at one point in the second half before former New York Knicks player Renaldo Balkman picked Brasil’s defense apart.

Balkman was instrumental on the win, as he was cutting to the basket at will, converting high and low passes from Daniel Santiago and even making some free throws. Balkman did it all today. He also blocked three shots to go along with his 24 points.

Brasil missed the inside presence of Anderson Varejao and Tiago Splitter, as they depended a lot on Marcelinho Huertas, Alex Garcia and Giovannoni more than they should.

We could call this an upset, but not really. Brasil is missing some of their key players, yes, but they lost fair and square with the roster they put together for the tournament.

Mexico 65, Venezuela 56

Viva Gustavo Ayon! Mexico’s only current NBA player, Gustavo Ayon, took the team on his back. The former Hornet scored a game-high 22 points to go along with 18 rebounds in Mexico’s win.

Venezuela, who struggled without their starting point guard Greivis Vasquez, tried everything on Ayon but nothing worked. This wasn’t pretty, as both teams struggled from the field shooting less than 35 percent for the game.


That completes all of today’s games. Tomorrow, the Dominican Republic will make their debut against Argentina, while Canada and Puerto Rico compete in what should be a really interesting matchup.


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