Spain, Puerto Rico complete Olympic basketball cast as Greece, Brazil also qualify


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Spain, Puerto Rico complete Olympic basketball cast as Greece, Brazil also qualify

VETERAN. Rudy Fernandez celebrates as Spain rules its hosting of the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Valencia.


Spain, Puerto Rico, Greece, and Brazil win their respective FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments as they join eight other qualified teams in the Paris Games

Spain, Puerto Rico, Greece, and Brazil completed the 12-team field in men’s basketball for the Paris Olympics after winning the finals of their respective qualifiers on Sunday, July 7.

Following last year’s FIBA World Cup, which awarded seven Olympic berths, 24 teams battled it out for the remaining four spots in separate Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQT) in Greece, Latvia, Spain, and Puerto Rico.

The top team in each tournament clinched a ticket to Paris, joining hosts France, the United States, Canada, Australia, South Sudan, Japan, Serbia, and Germany.

Spain secured its seventh consecutive Olympic appearance with an 86-78 win over the Bahamas in the final of the Valencia OQT.

With the teams tied 17-17 after the first quarter, the hosts then took the lead for good, earning Real Madrid forward Rudy Fernandez the chance to play in a record sixth Games, the most for a male player.

Spain, who has three silver medals and a bronze in Olympic basketball, will be looking to improve on its sixth-place finish in the Tokyo Games.

Ranked second in the world, Spain is bunched in Group A alongside Australia, Canada, and Greece, which reached the Olympics for the first time since 2008.

Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece made the most of its home advantage to outclass Croatia in an 80-69 victory in the final of the Piraeus OQT.

On top of Antetokounmpo’s 23-point performance, Georgios Papagiannis had 19 points, while Nick Calathes chipped in 11 assists as Greece stepped up a gear after a close first quarter ended 22-22.

Puerto Rico also ended a long Olympic absence, downing Lithuania, 79-68, in the final of the San Juan OQT to advance to the Games for the first time since 2004.

New Orleans Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado led Puerto Rico with 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals in front of an ecstatic home crowd as Puerto Rico joins reigning champions the United States, Serbia, and South Sudan in Group C.

Brazil found its way back to Olympics as well after missing out on Tokyo following a thumping 94-69 victory over hosts Latvia in the final of the Riga OQT.

The South Americans will make their 16th appearance at the Summer Games after a dominant performance against Latvia led by 21 points from Bruno Caboclo.

Brazil battles France, Germany, and Japan in Group B. –

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