San Antonio Spurs Manu Ginobili and Argentina remained unbeaten with an 81-74 victory over Puerto Rico on Friday night at the FIBA Americas Championship tournament.
Argentina won the first quarter 21-18, before Boston Celtics’ Carlos Arroyo and Puerto Rico came back in the second quarter to take a 36-34 lead at the break.
However, the Argentine nationals used a strong third quarter push, outscoring Puerto Rico 28-14 in the quarter and held a 62-50 lead heading into the final quarter.
Puerto Rico tried to make a comeback in fourth, but Argentina proved to be the better team in the end.
Ginobili led Argentina with 23 points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal in 31 minutes of action. He also shot 42.9 percent from the field, including 3-of-7 from behind the arc.
Houston Rockets’ Luis Scola added 16 points for Argentina.
Arroyo had a game-high 24 points, while Dallas Mavericks’ Juan Jose Barea chipped in 11 points for Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, Spurs’ Tiago Splitter and Team Brazil suffered their first loss in the tournament against the Dominican Republic 74-79.
Brazil held a 18-17 lead after the first quarter but the Dominican Republic won the second quarter 26-21 and led 43-39 at halftime.
The Brazilian’s took the third quarter 21-18 and entered the final quarter trailing by just one point, 60-61.
However, after a sorry loss against Spurs’ Cory Joseph and Team Canada, the Dominican Republic played tough in the fourth quarter to earn their third victory in four games.
Splitter finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and two block shots while shooting 75 percent from the field in 28 minutes of playing time for Brazil.
Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford scored 22 points, including 3-of-3 from three-point range for the Dominican Republic.
On Saturday, Splitter and Team Brazil will try to bounce back against Cuba at 18:00 (GMT -3) while Ginobili and Team Argentina will go for their fourth straight win against Panama at 20:30 (GMT -3) in Mar del Plata.
The first round ends on Saturday and the top four teams in each five-team group will advance to the second round.