Qualification to the FIBA World Cup of Basketball seems to have done wonders for Mexico as they prepare for their first world championship since 1974.
Mexico were surprise winners of the 2013 FIBA Americas title in Caracas, Venezuela as they defeated Puerto Rico to capture the title that many were expecting Brazil or Argentina to fight for.
Both Argentina and Brazil will still feature in Spain this summer, the latter qualifying via the Wildcard.
But Mexico are determined not to be one trophy wonders, and aim to be competitive at the World Cup, where they face Korea, Australia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Angola in Group D.
Mexico also hope to include Spain as one of their warm-up opponents for the tournament, which begins August 30.
“We have to win at least three games to advance to the next round,” said point guard Pedro Meza, who plays his club basketball in Mexico. “It would be a great success for [our] basketball.”
Forward Hector Hernandez added: “We can not settle for making history, you should go for the next step. We know it will not be easy, all the teams are good.”
Mexico also has plans after the tournament as well, as they look to make basketball a popular sport in a country dominated by football and wrestling. The FIBA World Cup trophy made an appearance in Mexico City this week and the Olympic Committee in attendance hinted that Mexico hopes to be in line to host the next FIBA Americas championship in 2015.
The next FIBA Americas tournament would be a qualifier for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“We are in negotiations to fight for the nomination,” said the President of the National Olympic Committee, Carlos Padilla
“There are some aspects that are still to be discussed with Alberto Garcia, Jesus Mena [National Commission of Physical Culture and Sports Director] and I have to study many aspects in order not to fail.”