Dominican Republic is one step closer to London Olympics after a 86-76 win against FYR of Macedonia in the Olympic Tournament, Caracas.
Francisco Garcia’s 28 points were crucial for the win, but the double doubles by their front line players (Horford – 14 point and 15 boards, Martinez – 14 points and 13 boards) were the key of their win.
Bo McCallebb was the only one to put up a decent fight from the FYROM side, with a tournament high of 35 points.
FYR of Macedonia entered this game shooting amazingly well, creating a double digit lead even as soon as in the first quarter, giving the Dominicans a scare. The European side had a 20 points lead with Bo McCallebb and Vlado Ilievski being the most important players for most of the half.
Dominican Republic were not in sync during their offensive sets in the first half, but they made a little run to close the first 20 minutes, trailing by “just” 13 points.
The good run continued during the start of the second half and the Dominicans, commanded by Francisco Garcia, had the momentum and cut the lead to just a bucket, 2 points. Horford who was 0/7 at the halftime began to contribute as well, making big plays on the boards.
But McCalebb, the explosive American guard was determined to keep FYROM on the top to enter the last 10 minutes (had already 27 points after three quarters).
Callipari’s team finally took the lead with 6 minutes left in the game, for the first time in the game, and FYR of Macedonia was never the same.
FYR of Macedonia’s one man show wasn’t enough to keep the offensive composure needed to stop the run made in the fourth quarter and Dominican Republic claimed a spot in the semi-finals with a 86-76 victory.
Horford and Garcia’s performances in the second half were the key to win this game against a team which, as expected, depended on McCalebb’s inspiration.
Dominican Republic will play against the winner of Lithuania and Puerto Rico matchup in the semi-finals for a chance to win a spot for the London Olympics.