Ed’s Note: Thank you, Raul.
In the most disappointing performance in the nine days here, Canada fell yesterday against Panama, a team that has lost its last three games by almost a 30 point average. Canada had hopes of taking the 5th spot that would give them the qualification to next year pre-Olympics, hoping for a ticket to London 2012 but instead, they lost to the weakest team in the second round.
Nuggets forward Gary Forbes had the best individual performance of the tournament with 39 points, 18 of them were in the last period which Panama won 21-19. Panama was without three of its starters including their leading scorer and entire backcourt.
Both teams had a great FG percentage but Canada shot just 4/17 in the fourth and lost the rebounding battle 41-28, in part because of the presence of 37 year old veteran Ruben Garces who had 12 boards playing the full 40 minutes. Carl English had a great game with 24 points, 15 of them in the first period while Kelly Olynyk added 13 and 4 boards.
With this result, the Venezuela–Uruguay doesn’t matter and the Candians will leave Mar del Plata tomorrow.
“It’s a disappointing loss. We knew that Panama is a team that could look almost disinterested one day and come out and play like they did today. Even though they didn’t win, they’re a team that can beat anybody in this tournament when they want to play. It’s very disappointing, I don’t think we’re good enough yet to absorb injuries, we need all of our players. But with that being said, we still had opportunities. With a few shots and a few stops we could have easily been in the top four.
On the team’s future:
“We have a lot of good, young players and the idea is that every young player that wants to represent their country could be with the team. The future looks bright”
“We had an OK start but we gave the opportunity to a team like Panama to have rhythm. They play a lot of one-on-one and we gave these guys confidence. For us, we fight but we didn’t follow the plan. In most of our losses in this tournament we got away from the plan and that’s disappointing. I don’t feel we should leave tomorrow but they were confident, made some big shots, and beat us.
Finally Jonas Valanciunas had his breakout game yesterday in Lithuania’s huge win against Serbia 100-90. Jonas had 18 points in nine shots attempted during his 20 minutes of play that included 5 rebounds and 2 blocks shots. Valanciunas has seen his minutes increased since the injury to Petravicius but yesterday the team was also without big man Lavrinovic.
In other news, Spain continues on its road to the finals with a 77-68 victory against Germany. Jose Calderon started for the team and play 20 minutes with 2 points and no assists.
PhdSteve on ESPN
Talking Jonas and Bargnani as part of the 5-on-5 series.