Brazil Absorbs 72-65 Defeat Against Puerto Rico In 2013 FIBA Americas Opener

Puerto Rico celebrates after scoring an impressive 72-65 win over rival Brazil in the 2013 FIBA Americas preliminary round.

Puerto Rico celebrates after scoring an impressive 72-65 win over rival Brazil in the 2013 FIBA Americas preliminary round.

Puerto Rico leaned on an impressive fourth-quarter performance to start their 2013 FIBA Americas Championship campaign with a 72-65 win over Brazil on Friday night in Caracas, Venezuela.

Trailing by three points after the first three periods, Puerto Rico played with a lot of sense of urgency in the final 10 minutes of the match as veterans Jose Juan Barea and Renaldo Balkman taking over for their squad, outscoring the Brazilians by 10 in the entire fourth quarter.

Balkman was an immovable force inside the paint as he finished with 27 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field in 37 minutes of playing time, while also tallying eight rebounds and four blocks.

John Holland also had a productive night for Puerto Rico as well with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Barea tallied 12 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Veteran guard Carlos Arroyo failed to find his touch, finishing with just seven points on 2-for-9 shooting from the field.

Both teams struggled to find their touch from the three-point region with Puerto Rico shooting just 15 percent (2-for-13), while Brazil had a slightly-better 24-percent clip (4-for-17).

Free-throw shooting proved to be the difference in the match with the Puerto Ricans converting 22 of their 28 free-throw attempts, while the Brazilians went 15-for-20 from the 15-foot line. Puerto Rico had five blocks compared to just one from Brazil.

Marcelo Huertas, a veteran of international basketball competitions, finished with 16 points and five assists for Brazil, while Guilherme Giovannoni while Vitor Benite added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Puerto Rico will look to take their second win in as many days when they face Canada on Saturday, while Brazil takes a free day.

The Brazilians, who are playing in the tournament without stars Tiago Splitter and Anderson Varejao, will resume their campaign on Sunday against Canada as well.

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