CARACAS, Venezuela — Jamaica completed the biggest shock of the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship by beating title-holders Argentina 81-75 in yesterday’s second-round game, but head coach Sam Vincent was in no mood to celebrate as he centred attention on today’s clash with Mexico at the Poliedro de Caracas, starting at 10:30 am (Jamaica time).
While Vincent was openly elated with the JamRockerZ dishing out a second stunner in less than a week after Tuesday’s first round defeat of Brazil, he insisted that the bigger picture is to continue winning and push for qualification to the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
"We are not satisfied with getting one win or two wins at this tournament. We have a goal of finishing in the top four and we feel that if we can come out and play a tough game against Mexico tomorrow [today], then we got a real good chance.
“We are going to study [the video recordings] well and come out and play tough again,” he told the Jamaica Observer as the coaching staff watched a part of the Uruguay versus Mexico match live at the venue.
The top four teams at the end of the second round automatically progress to next year’s global showpiece to be staged in Spain.
The JamRockerZ, making a novel appearance at the FIBA Americas tournament, were without top player Samardo Samuels against Argentina, but they made up for his absence with palpable team spirit and tenacious defending that suppressed the South Americans.
Shooting guard Weyinmi Rose, who scored an outstanding 20 points in the fourth quarter, was 9/17 from the field to end with 24. He also had six rebounds, and two steals.
The powerfully-built Adrian Uter had 10 points to go with 11 rebounds, while point guard Akeem Scott notched 12 points, and three steals.
Big centre Jerome Jordan, with a 5/6 shooting accuracy, contributed 11 points, four rebounds, and effected two dismissive blocks.
Luis Scola led Argentina with 22 points.
The purposeful-looking Jamaicans led 17-16 at the end of the first quarter, but fell behind 28-31 after a low scoring opening half.
Argentina, stacked with wonderful outside shooters throughout their team, found their range in the third period and only ended with a 55-50 advantage after Jamaica made a late rally in the quarter.
Rose, unleashing nifty dribbles to match his pin-point shooting, then took the game by the scruff of the neck in the final stanza and when Jamaica took the lead with over six minutes remaining at 59-57, they hardly ever looked back.
Vincent, who blasted the team after their poor showing in the defeat to Dominican Republic on Thursday, poured praises on the change in attitude in yesterday’s encounter.
“Our whole preparation today was just excellent and I thought it carried over to how we played on the floor. It was just a great team effort. The guys on the bench got in and also did their part,” he said.
With the win, Jamaica moved to six points, level with Dominican Republic, hosts Venezuela and Uruguay, but only one behind Argentina and Canada. Up to press time, the tournament favourites Puerto Rico and the team from Mexico led with eight points, respectively.
With two matches still to be played late yesterday, the standings will change ahead of today’s fixture.
Jamaica’s Garfield Blair (left) attempts to go by Argentina’s Luis Scola during yesterday’s FIBA Americas Championship secondround match at the Poliedro de Caracas. Blair scored 10 points and had seven rebounds to help the Jamaicans to a historic 81-75 win. (PHOTOS: FIBAAMERICAS.COM)