San Antonio Spurs’ Tiago Splitter and Team Brazil defeats the Dominican Republic 83-76 at their FIBA Americas semifinals match and earned a ticket to the 2012 London Olympics.
Being the only team to beat Brazil in tournament heading into the semifinals, the Dominican Republic looked confident as they battled the Brazilians toe-to-toe.
The Brazilian nationals raced out to a 9-4 run to start the first quarter but the Dominican Republic fought back and tied the game at 17 with just three seconds remaining in the period before Jack Martinez fouled Rafael Hettsheimeir, who made 1-of-2 foul shots to give Brazil a one-point lead after the opening period.
In the second quarter, Brazil started strong early building a 23-19 lead but Splitter committed two quick fouls midway in the period, that gave a break to the Dominican Republic.
With Tiago on the bench, the Dominican Republic slowly trimmed Brazil’s lead and were able to take a 36-35 lead with 1:41 left in the second quarter.
However, the Brazilians did not panic.
They tied the game at 36 and even held a 39-36 lead at the break off a Marcelo Machado 3-pointer.
In the second half, the Dominican Republic relied of their inside game to tie the ball game once again at 45, but each time they try to take control of the game, Brazil has an answer.
With the game tied at 45, Hettsheimeir and Machado sparked a 14-8 run for Brazil to regain the lead 59-53 capped off by Splitter’s 3-point play.
The Brazilians entered the fourth quarter with seven-point advantage and protected it to seal the win.
Brazil led by 10 points, 74-64 with 4:46 left in the game, when Martinez and Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford went to work to cut the deficit 69-74.
Nonetheless, Brazil kept their composure and hold the Dominican Republic at bay.
Splitter had a key defensive rebound with 1:20 remaining in the game which led to a Marcelo Huertas layup that gave Brazil a 80-73 lead with just a minute left.
Brazil held on to win the game, and gained an Olympic berth to the 2012 London Games.
Martinez had a double-double, with 18 points and 15 rebounds, while Horford added 18 points and six rebounds for the Dominican Republic.
Machado led Brazil with 20 points, and Huertas added 11.
Splitter, who was in early foul trouble, had three points and three rebounds in just 11 minutes in the victory.
Team Brazil awaits the winner of the Argentina vs. Puerto Rico semifinal match to determine their opponent at the FIBA Americas Championship finals on Sunday.