September 13, 2011

Argentina beat Brazil to win FIBA Americas

It was the perfect finale for a South American clash, in a match-up that sounds more like the final of the FIBA World Cup or the Copa America than the FIBA Americas Basketball Championship.

But it was indeed a basketball final: Argentina vs. Brazil, the two best and most consistent teams in South American basketball, made their way to the final of the 2011 FIBA Americas, which was held in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Argentina defended their position as hosts in the perfect manner to a close finish: led by Houston Rockets' PF Luis Scola, one of Argentina's greatest ever players, and the MVP of the championship, Argentina won the final 80-75 over their eternal rivals.

In a fast-paced game, both teams went hard against each other, and it was the presence of Scola (32 points) that proved to be the difference between the sides as Argentina led at halftime. Brazil made their own strong comeback and took a six point lead in the second half, but the close game turned in the last minutes behind clutch play by Scola and Carlos Delfino for Argentina to hand the hosts the victory.

Delfino added 16 points for Argentina. For Brazil, the leading scorer was Marcus Vinicius Vieira Souza.

This was only Argentina's second ever FIBA Americas championship.

Third place in the tournament went to the Dominican Republic, who beat the other strong Americas side, Puerto Rico, in the third-fourth place playoff.

The championship, which is also an Olympics qualifying tournament, was skipped by the Americas most successful ever team, the USA, who had already qualified for the Olympics after winning the 2010 FIBA World Championship. By reaching the finals, Argentina and Brazil also qualified for the 2012 Olympics.

Scola was named MVP, and was a part of the All-Tournament team, which had NBA-experience sprinkled all over it. Scola led the tournament in points per game (21.4).

All Tournament Team

  • Marcelinho Huertas (Brazil)
  • Carlos Arroyo (Puerto Rico)
  • Manu Ginobili (Argentina)
  • Luis Scola (Argentina) - MVP
  • Al Horford (Dominican Republic)
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