Vasquez Competing at FIBA Americas Championship
Today is the third day of pool play at the FIBA Americas Championship in Puerto Rico, and so far the results have been mixed for Maryland senior guard Greivis Vasquez, who is competing for his native Venezuela. In two games, Vasquez has compiled 11 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 turnovers for Venezuela, which is 1-1 entering today's contest against Panama.
Venezuela kicked off the tournament Wednesday with an 85-69 win over Argentina and then fell Thursday to Brazil, 87-67. Later today, Venezuela will square off against Panama, which is 0-1 after an off day Wednesday and a 100-87 loss Thursday to the Dominican Republic.
As for Vasquez, he tallied seven points, seven assists, three rebounds and four turnovers in the opening win over Argentina. He shot 2 of 6 from the field in 30 minutes.
Vasquez struggled in the loss to Brazil, with four points, three assists and one rebound, though he did not record a turnover against a Brazil defense that focused on limiting Vasquez's effectiveness. He shot 2 of 7 from the field in 24 minutes.
Brazil Coach Jose Manuel "Moncho" Monsalve told his players, specifically Diego Pinheiro, to guard Vasquez closely, according to a report released by the Venezuelan Basketball Federation.
"Against Argentina, it was fundamentally Greivis Vasquez who controlled the game in the match and therefore provided the victory to his team over them," Monsalve said, according to the report. "But that marking and the strong defense we applied throughout the game led us to the triumph over Venezuela."
It is important to note that Vasquez is relied on more as a facilitator than as a scorer on the Venezuelan national team. He starts at point guard and is expected primarily to create scoring opportunities for his teammates, as opposed to at Maryland where it is more necessary for him to rack up points. Former NBA player Oscar Torres and Hector Romero, who played at the University of New Orleans before beginning a career in European leagues, are Venezuela's top scorers. Still, as one of the team's key performers, Vasquez's 30.8 shooting percentage (4 of 13) thus far likely will need to improve if Venezuela hopes to advance in this tournament.
After facing Panama later today, Venezuela will wrap up pool play tomorrow against the Dominican Republic. Assuming Venezuela finishes in the top four of its five-team group, it will compete in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. The FIBA Americas Championship is the qualifying tournament for next year's world championships in Turkey.
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