JJ Barea is the star of the Puerto Rican team.
That was affirmed on Thursday by the Puerto Rican coach Flor Melendez, who took this past weekend the team to the fourth place in the Mar del Plata Pre Olympic tournament, advancing to the playoff tournament, which will provide three more spots to the London 2012 Games.
"I understand that Arroyo, Barea, and Balkman are available to play if the problem is solved, in Guadalajara," said Melendez in a press conference.
He stated that the training for the preliminary team will begin next Sunday and that among the players that could participate are Manuel Narvaez and the forward Angel Alamo, who were in the FIBA Americas tournament.
Also available are the point guard Dennis Clemente, and the guards Guillermo Diaz and Jesse Pellot.
Melendez, who had not coached the Puerto Rican team since the 1979 Pan American Games, recognized the work of his players in the FIBA Americas tournament, with great hopes for the future.
"I've been coaching national teams for a long time, but none like this one with the focus they have on playing basketball," he assured.
Puerto Rico finished fourth in the FIBA Americas tournament after losing the third place match against the Dominican Republic. The Puerto Ricans had the chance to get a pass to the Olympics in the semifinal against Argentina, but lost by two points.
Regardless, the president of the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation, Carlos Beltran, assured that the team will get a ticket to the Olympics in the playoffs and will win a medal in the Rio 2016 Olympics.
"We are going to work for that. We have a plan for the young talent we are going to develop. The collective talent is the one that gets victories. That is how it works, collectively, where we have a different hero every night," he emphasized.
Beltran said that the athletics officials in Puerto rico will do everything possible to organize the playoff tournament, which is expected to take place next June or July, depending on the location.
"If it is in America, it will be played the first week of July, but if it is played in Europe, it would be the second week of july. We are going to make a reasonable offer. In December we will know the host," he said.
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