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2023 FIBA World Cup

Despite crushing exit, Puerto Rico still sees FIBA WC campaign as success

Puerto Rico’s journey in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 may have ended on a sour note, but they still achieved more victories this time compared to their participation in the previous four editions of the global event.

The 12 Magnificos missed out on a quarterfinals spot after a 73-57 defeat by Italy. Nevertheless, they secured three wins during their campaign, finishing in 12th place. This marks their best performance since the 2002 edition when they claimed six wins and a 7th place finish.FIBA-WC-ITA-vs.-PUR-Nelson-Colon-2121 Despite crushing exit, Puerto Rico still sees FIBA WC campaign as success 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball News  - philippine sports news

Coach Nelson Colon expressed, “We competed at 100 percent. We played to win this game and tried our best. At the end of the day, open shots and second-chance points—Italy outperformed us, but we have to learn and take pride in my group, my team, my coaches, and all my staff.

“Nobody put us in this position; only we stayed together, believed, and grew as a team and as a family. It’s tough when we’re losing, but I know we learn more about this game, and in the future, I believe we’ll be better.”

From the 2006 to 2019 World Cups, the three-time FIBA AmeriCup winners struggled to secure only 1-2 wins, a stark contrast to their earlier successes, including a 4th place finish in the 1990 edition of the competition.

Considering this context, this campaign might signal that the 12 Magnificos are on the rise again. It had its moments of glory, and the victories over South Sudan, Dominican Republic, and China are accomplishments to be proud of.FIBA-WC-ITA-vs.-PUR-Jordan-Howard-1958 Despite crushing exit, Puerto Rico still sees FIBA WC campaign as success 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball News  - philippine sports news

Jordan Howard, who averaged 11.4 points in Puerto Rico’s five World Cup matches, commented, “I think for us, it was something we expected coming in. Perhaps not many people anticipated the results we achieved. We began with five challenging exhibition games against some of the top teams. I think four or five of them are still in contention for the final round.”

“For us, it was about preparing the right way. We have an incredible coaching staff, a fantastic team, and amazing players, so it was something we anticipated. But of course, when you achieve the results and are in a position to reach the final eight, it feels great.

“While we didn’t make it to the final eight, this is still an accomplishment not only for us but also for the island.”

Now, Puerto Rico is back to the drawing board. The country will compete in next month’s Pan American Games in Chile, aiming to surpass the silver medal finish from the previous edition.

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There is still time for the team and the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation to evaluate what went right and wrong during this World Cup. It’s up to them to use this experience to return to the upper echelons of international basketball.

Colon concluded, “It’s tough when you lose a game like this. It’s time for reflection, to contemplate what comes next, and how we can improve for the future.”

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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