The Panamanian national basketball team achieved the first of a double objective in the qualifiers to the 2019 China World Cup: to defeat Mexico, but should improve in face of the commitment that awaits against Puerto Rico to keep the options of qualifying alive.
The “canaleros” team won an erratic duel with a score of 76 to 65 at the Roberto Durán Arena, eliminating the Aztecs from any chance of going to the World Cup with three games to finish the qualifying phase.
From the start of the game it was Panama that sought the victory, to the point of taking a 12-3 lead in the first minutes, from which the Mexicans failed to recover.
Panama played a little better, with a 52% success in two-point shots, compared to Mexico’s 32%. In free throw effectiveness the stats were very different, with a 27% for the home team, whereas the visitors credited a 29%.
The free throw stats also speak of the nervousness of two teams that were playing to survive, with 70% for Panama and 56% for Mexico.
The most outstanding for Panama was Javier Carter, with 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Tony Bishop also contributed with 14 points and eight rebounds; Ernesto Oglivie with 14 units and 10 captures; and Trevor Gaskins with 14 points and eight rebounds.
At this point, Panama has 13 points second to last in the standings of Group E, but is only one point from the fourth place currently occupied by Puerto Rico, its opponent next Sunday, which comes from falling to Uruguay.
Improving the offensive aspect and reducing the number of turnovers will be the goal of those led by the Spanish coach Manuel Hussein if they want to take the victory and stay in the race for a ticket to the China World Cup.
In the American elimination they classify the three first of each group and the best fourth place, position to which the Panamanian team aspires at the moment.