Fourth quarter blitz gives El Salvador win over Guyana
Hosts El Salvador pulled off an exciting 92-90 victory against Guyana on the third day of the FIBA World Cup Central America and the Caribbean Pre-Qualifiers 2023, held at Adolfo Pineda Gymnasium in San Salvador on Saturday evening.
The hosts, out of sheer courage, came back from a 13-point deficit for the start of the fourth, led by the monstrous performance of center Ronnie Aguilar, who scored 35 points, with 16 rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
Aguilar tied the game at 89 with 1:28 minutes remaining, but the turning point was scored by Brayan García, after an offensive rebound, which put his team in front 91-90, with just 26 seconds on the clock.
Guyana was left without execution and lost two possessions in the last minute. Then, Roberto Martínez, who produced 24 points, was sent to the foul line and made one of his shots, leaving the possibility open for his rivals. But with five seconds left Rose missed a three-pointer and the home team took the victory.
With this setback, Guyana is now at 0-3 despite Delroy James’ 25 points and five assists and Rose’s 19 points with 10 rebounds.
In the other match of the day, guard Jared Ruiz had another inspired day with 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists to lead Nicaragua (2-0) to their second victory, this time taking down undefeated Jamaica 92-54.
The Nicaraguans were aggressive from the start with an intense defense that allowed them to have a 27-11 run in the first quarter. Then, they kept up the pace and increased the lead in the following periods.
Nicaragua dominated the rebounds 59-41, which allowed them to establish their offense in transition with 30 fast break points. They also took advantage of Jamaica’s 19 turnovers which translated into 24 points, and feasted in the paint with 62 points in that area.
Forward Norchad Omier also stood out with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Vansdell Thomas and Larel Pacheco added 12 points each.
Warren Williams led Jamaica with 24 points and nine rebounds, but no other player reached double digits in scoring. Omari Johnson, who had been the offensive leader in the previous two victories (averaging 21 points per game), went scoreless.
On Sunday, Guyana will face Costa Rica from 18:00h and El Salvador will meet Nicaragua from 21:00h. The top three teams will advance to the second round of the FIBA World Cup Americas Pre-Qualifiers 2023, scheduled for July. (FIBA)