In their quarterfinal match against Argentina, San Antonio Spurs’ Tiago Splitter and Team Brazil came out victorious.
With both teams already earning spots in the 2012 London Olympics, the game was mostly for pride, but there is more at stake — the FIBA Americas Crown.
With the title on the line, and revenge on their minds, Argentina started the game with a statement.
They stormed out early outscoring Brazil 21-9 in the opening period behind Luis Scola’s inside game. In the second quarter, Brazil tried to make their way back to the ball game and were within 22-25 on a Marcus Vinicius jumper midway in the period.
But back-to-back turnovers from Brazil’s point guard Marcelo Huertas allowed the Argentines to take control once again going to an 11-0 run, to put their lead back up to 36-22.
A three-pointer by Vinicius off a Splitter assists sparked a 5-0 spurt that cut the deficit to 27-36 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Spurs’ Manu Ginobili got more involved in the offense for Argentina, he completed a 3-point play off a foul from Spurs teammate Tiago Splitter to stretch their lead 42-32 early in the period.
However, the Brazilians made a comeback behind Splitter, Vinicius and Huertas as they pull within, 48-51 after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, Brazil continued their momentum, going on an early 8-0 blast and held a 56-51 advantage with 7:45 left in the game.
That’s when Argentina made their move.
Behind a strong offensive performance from Scola, and with Ginobili and Carlos Delfino helping out, the Argentines took back the driver seat 60-56, on 9-0 run of their own.
Splitter put Brazil within 62-65 with just 2:14 remaining, but a steal by former Spur Fabricio Oberto sparked a 10-3 run by the Argentines to put Argentina up by 10 points 75-65 with only 38 seconds left.
Still, Brazil weren’t done.
With Argentina missing some pressure packed free throws, the Brazilians were able to cut the deficit to just three points, 75-78 with six seconds remaining on Marcelo Machado’s 3-pointer.
Another former Spur, Alex Garcia fouled Ginobili on the ensuing play for Brazil to get an extra ball possession.
Manu missed both free throws and the score remains 78-75 with five seconds remaining (H/T to Reader Bruno) . Scola sealed the win with a steal on the next play and promptly made his two free throws for the game’s final score — 80-75.
Scola had a dominant game, scoring 32 points for Team Argentina.
Carlos Delfino added 16 points, while Ginobili had eight points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, and six turnovers in 30 minutes play.
Oberto went 0-of-4 from the field but finished with six rebounds, two steals and one assist in 18 minutes of action.
Vinicuis led Brazil with had 17 points.
Splitter played had 12 points, five rebounds, and three assists in 22 minutes as he once again battled foul trouble throughout the game. He also went a measly 2-of-6 from the foul line.
Both teams achieved their ultimate goal of earning a spot at the 2012 London Olympic games.
Ginobili could savor the moment a little more as Argentina won the FIBA Americas crown, but he and Splitter will now have a chance to rest their bodies after a grueling three weeks competitive basketball at FIBA Americas tournament.