Former Spur Fabricio Oberto: “Returned to Life”

Fabricio Oberto has already retired nine months from basketball when Argentina’s national team coach Julio Lamas gave him a call to join Argentina at the FIBA Americas Championships.

Former Spur Fabricio Oberto.

At the time, the  36-year old center had to work doubly hard to make it to Mar Del Plata.

To make things tougher, he suffered a fibrillar rupture in his left adductor 15 days before the FIBA Americas tips off and his participation in tournament was in danger.

But coach Lamas gave him the chance to be part of the team and he finally entered the court against Puerto Rico last Friday.

“I returned to life,” Oberto said. “I passed through tough days but I had the perseverance to go on working with the team doctor and kinesiologist and I made it.”

The former San Antonio Spurs player added three physiotherapist sessions per day to the team’s training sessions.

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Ginobili: “Talent is not enough”

After Argentina’s comfortable 84-52 win over Paraguay, San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili said (via FIBA.com) talent is not the only virtue of the National Team.

(Photo via FIBA.com)

“It’s true we have many talented players but if you don’t supply talent with hard work it’s useless,” said Ginobili, an Olympic champion in Athens 2004. “Talent is not enough. How many talented teams have lost on the first days of competition in history?”

Ginobili said it was important to win by a big margin in order to have their key players rested for the rest of the tournament.

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Spurs well represented at Olympic qualifiers

As the 2011 EuroBasket and FIBA Americas Championship kicks off, no NBA team will be well represented more than the San Antonio Spurs.

Among the notable Spurs players that will represent their home countries at the Olympic qualifiers are Manu Ginobili of Argentina, Tony Parker of France and Tiago Splitter of Brazil.

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Nocioni tells FIBA “Not going to London would be a big disappointment”

With the FIBA Americas Championships just about to begin, Philadelphia Sixers forward Andres Nocioni, one of the fiercest of Argentina’s Golden Generation members, has no doubts on what he wants for him and his team on the next days.

Argentina's Andres Nocioni

Before Argentina tips off at the FIBA Americas against Paraguay, Nocioni talked to FIBA about the team’s preparations and the pressure of playing home.

FIBA: How did you like this year’s preparations?

Nocioni: We didn’t play friendly games against top teams in the world as we did previously against Spain or Lithuania, but we faced teams we will meet during the tournament and that was useful to see where we are. The players that didn’t suffer any injury practiced really hard during the whole month.

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Ex-Spur Oberto named to Argentina’s final roster, Spurs’ Richards released by Great Britain

Argentina coach Julio Lamas has announced his squad for the FIBA Americas Championship. Leonardo Mainoldi and Juan Pablo Figueroa were the last players to be cut.

Lamas announced what many were expecting.

“I chose the best twelve players because I can set up the best possible team and I have all the resources I need to play the tournament,” Lamas said at a press conference on Saturday.

Argentina, ranked 3rd in the world, will start the tournament as the favorites to clinch one of the two spots for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Lamas, however, wants the player to go step by step.

“We still have three more days before tips off, which would represent four or five practicing hours,” the coach said. “We still have things to repeat and improve and we can still evolve in order to play better every day during the tournament.”

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Favored Argentina believes there is room for improvement

Team Argentina finished their preparations for the FIBA Americas Championship with a 7-0 record averaging 86.5 points per game while giving up just 57.1 points per game.

Manu Ginobili goes up for a dunk while Fabricio Oberto and Luis Scola looks on.

Their average margin per game was so impressive that they are considered one of favorite teams to gain an outright Olympic berth for the 2012 London games.

However, Argentina is not letting their guards down.

After barely beating Venezuela in their last warm-up game, the team thinks it’s a wake up call.

“This was the best thing that could happen to us,” said Luis Scola, who scored 22 points in the tightly contested game.

“It’s obvious we didn’t play a good game but it was useful. We hate when a team abandons before the game finishes and Venezuela play fiercely until the last second, like Cuba did in Cordoba a couple of weeks ago.”

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Brazil, Argentina beat separate foes

After putting up a strong performance against Team Canada, San Antonio Spurs forward Tiago Splitter had a tougher time playing against the Dominican Republic.

San Antonio Spurs Tiago Splitter and Manu Ginobili led their respective national teams to victory against the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Brazil trailed 13-18 after the first quarter but quickly stepped on the gas in the second period, outscoring the Dominican Republic 28-12 and went into the locker room with a 41-30 lead.

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Argentina hopes Oberto can join them at FIBA Americas

Former San Antonio Spurs center Fabricio Oberto announced his retirement from basketball due to a heart condition in November 2010.

Argentina's Fabricio Oberto

He did his best to stay fit and healthy during his post NBA career, hoping that one day he could play competitive basketball again.

Opportunity eventually came knocking.

With the Argentine national team eyeing a berth at the 2012 Olympics in London, Argentina coach Julio Lamas called up Fabricio for help.

Oberto entered the basketball court again after 284 days, in Argentina’s 106-53 easy win over Venezuela in a friendly game on August 13.

However, after three minutes of his second game, the former Spur suffered a fibrillar rupture on his left adductor muscle and doctors advised him to stop practicing for 10 to 15 days.

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Manu, Argentina beat Venezuela 90-73 in rematch

After mauling Venezuela on Sunday night at the Super 4 Finals, Team Argentina had a tougher time in a rematch played against the Venezuelan national team.

The game was tied after the opening period and Argentina held a slim 39-38  lead at halftime.

However, Argentina slowly pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Venezuelans by eight points in each of the last two quarters on their way to a 90-73 victory.

Manu Ginobili led Argentina for the third consecutive game with 19 points, three rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes.

Former Spur Fabricio Oberto had one rebound in limited minutes before developing muscle tightness in his thigh.

Team Argentina will play Venezuela once more next week.

Superb Manu led Argentina, walloped Venezuela in Super 4 Finals

After defeating Cuba 80-67, San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili and Team Argentina expected a tougher matchup against Venezuela but that wasn’t the case.

Ginobili went to work early, scoring 12 points, dishing out three assists and had one rebound after one quarter as Argentina took a 35-8 lead after the opening tip.

Former Spur Fabricio Oberto also played for Argentina scoring two points in limited minutes.

Perhaps the best thing about the game was that Oberto returned to the court after 10 months of absence, playing around 10 minutes. (Hat tip to Pounding The Rock).

Manu once again led Argentina in scoring with 22 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, including 4-of-4 from beyond the arc and 6-of-6 from the foul line.

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