San Antonio Spurs teammates Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter will battle it out later today as Argentina and Brazil meet at the FIBA Americas Championship tournament.
Both teams have already secured a semifinal spot but will be competing for a better position in the final standings.
Argentina and Brazil have played four times in the last three FIBA Americas tournament, including a qualifying match for the 2008 Olympic Games.
In 2005, they faced each other on the final game, even though Argentina was already qualified to the 2006 World Championships as the Athens 2004 Gold Medal winners.
Brazil prevailed 100-88 thanks to an extraordinary performance from Tiago Splitter, who had 25 points and seven rebounds.
It was two years later when Argentina had a pair of major wins over Brazil.
Luis Scola had 27 points to lead Argentina to a 91-80 semifinal win, which led to a spot at Beijing.
Brazil had their revenge in Puerto Rico 2009, as they collected a 76-67 first round victory with Marcelo Huertas in a great form, contributing 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Both teams made it to the 2010 World Championships.
Players and coaches know perfectly well their opponents as they have played in many occasions and have even shared clubs.
Luis Scola said Argentina will have to very aware of Splitter’s low post game.
“He’s one of the best of the tournament and Brazil’s best, in my opinion.”
“They have very few weaknesses. Watching them play is like watching an Opera. It’s good the way they pass the ball, opening spaces to score twos and threes.”
Andres Nocioni defines Brazil as their “biggest historical rivals.”
“It doesn’t matter how we get to the game, it’s always a close one. This time they have young players but they are still dangerous.” (Source: FIBA.com)
Hold on to your seats, this game might be just for better positioning as both teams advance in to the next round, but since its Argentina and Brazil, it should be a cliff hanger.
It will be pretty exciting to watch Manu and Tiago playing against each other, as both players are very passionate about leading their respective home countries to earn an Olympic berth.
The smart money could be on Argentina right now because they are the only unbeaten team in the tournament, but considering both teams head-to-head matchup, it’s a should be a tough choice.
Game time is at 18:00 (GMT -3) in Mar del Plata.
Who do you think will win this game? Argentina or Brazil? Fire away at the comment section.