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CANCUN, MEXICO– The Cadet Men’s National Team (CMNT) fought back from as much as an 11 point deficit at one point, but their fourth quarter comeback fell short as they lost their first game of the FIBA Americas U16 Championships to Puerto Rico, 90-86.
After a great first quarter, the Cadets’ defense held Puerto Rico to 7 points on 6-of-18 shooting and forced 10 turnovers leading to a 28-18 Canada lead. Puerto Rico roared back to maintain the lead throughout most of the second and all of the third quarter behind the shooting of Miguel Reyes who would score 36 in the game to lead all scorers.
Canada dug in on the defensive end to force turnovers and would close the period with a 9-3 scoring spurt to close the gap to 63-58. The CMNT would continue this run into the fourth eventually retaking a 78-76 lead at the 2:58 mark, thanks to great defense and quick scoring from Malcolm Duvivier (Toronto, ON), who netted 11 points in a key run to open the period including three 3-point baskets, and shifting the momentum in Canada’s favor. However, Puerto Rico would answer all of Canada’s attempts at completing the comeback with timely baskets and foul shooting down the stretch finally sealing it with two free throws with seconds on the clock and stealing the win.
Offensively, five players scored in double figures led by 17 points each from Kevin Zabo (Montreal, QC) and Marial Shayok (Ottawa, ON). Zabo also contributed a team high 5 assists along with 5 rebounds and 3 steals before fouling out in the fourth quarter. As a team, Canada continued to shoot the ball well, making 29-of-67 from the floor including 8-of-23 from behind the arc.
On the defensive end, Canada held the advantage on the boards out-rebounding Puerto Rico 45-40 as well as maintain the edge in steals (14 to 9). The Cadets were also able to hold a very tough Puerto Rico offense to 27-of-66 from the field for 40.9%.
The loss to Puerto Rico evens out the CMNT’s record at 1-1 at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship. Canada will play its last game of the preliminary round Thursday at 8 p.m. local time (9 p.m. EST time) against the host country, Mexico. A win will ensure a spot in the medal round for the Cadets.
The game will be broadcast live online at http://www.fibaamericas.com. Game summary and boxscore will be posted onhttp://www.basketball.ca.