Jul 05, 2024

On Thursday night the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot, lived one of the most exciting games in its great history of hosting great moments for Puerto Rican basketball, when the national team played before more than twelve thousand people present in the stadium, in the 80 – 69 victory over Italy, in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Paris 2024.

Confirmed by FIBA, 12,519, was the total number of people who attended Thursday’s double-header, where the Puerto Rican national team achieved a historic victory over the Italians for the first time in 30 years, when they faced each other in the 1994 Goodwill Games, and the first Puerto Rican victory over a team from that European country since 1963 in an official FIBA event.

Among those present at the “Choliseo” were basketball legends José “Piculín” Ortiz, as well as Juan José Barea and Carlos Arroyo, in addition to the President of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee and secretary general of Centro Caribe Sports, Sara Rosario, also, FIBA Executive Committee member and President of the past Central American and Caribbean Games, San Salvador 2023, Yamil Bukele, also the FIBA Hall of Fame and Olympic medalist, Cuban Ruperto Herrera, among other prominent figures of Olympic sport.

“We are proud to represent the name on the jersey (Puerto Rico),” said Nelson Colón about the warmth given by the public to the national team on the third day of the tournament that offers a ticket to Paris 2024 and is the only one held in the Americas. The other three events that also grant a ticket are played in Valencia (Spain), Riga (Latvia) and Piraeus (Greece).

Puerto Rico finished the preliminary phase as leader of Group B, after beating Bahrain and Italy, and this Saturday will face Mexico in the second semifinal of the double-header, an event that grants a ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in men’s basketball. The semifinals begin at 4:00 p.m. with the clash between Lithuania and Italy, and at 7:00 p.m., the Puerto Ricans against the Mexicans.

Men’s basketball is looking to qualify for an Olympic Games, after the women’s team qualified for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Xi’an, China, earlier this year.

Written by Noel Werleman


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