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Virgin Islands Men’s Basketball Team Dominated By Brazil 104-80

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Brazil became the fifth team in the Americas to qualify to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 after defeating the Virgin Islands, 104-80, at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center in St. Thomas on Thursday.

Brazil join Argentina, Canada, USA and Venezuela as the teams that have already qualified for the Americas in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. As the sixth qualifying window ends, the two last qualified teams of the Americas will be determined.

Marquinhos Souza was the high scorer for Brazil, with a 22-point contribution (5/5 in three-point shots) and 9 rebounds; and Vítor Benite followed suit with 20 points (4/6 in three-point shots). Leandrinho Barbosa added 19 and Didi Louzada collaborated with 15.

For the Virgin Islands, led by William Colón, the 25 points and 11 rebounds by Georgio Milligan and the 15 points by Devon Peltier weren’t enough. They and Jamaal Samuel (12) were the only three players to be in double digits.

In the first quarter, Alex García and Vítor Benite combined 18 points and took Brazil to the lead in a very head to head quarter that ended 22-20 for the visiting team. At the end of the second quarter, two three-pointers (the first by Marquinhos Souza and the second by Didi Louzada) gave Brazil a 14-point advantage to close the first half in the lead, 51-37 (17-29).

Didi, the 19-year-old young player in Brazil’s Club Franca, collaborated with a three-pointer and a slam dunk to place the scoreboard at 61-43 with 6 minutes left to close the third quarter, which ended 27-21 (78-58) in favor of the visiting team, who always sustained a comfortable difference of more than 20 points (26-22) to take the coveted triumph.

The team led by Aleksandar Petrović did 27 assists, captured 46 rebounds (29 defensive) and scored 15 of 27 three-point shots (55.56 percent). The bench points from the Brazilian side were 48, compared to 19 by the Caribbean squad, who threw a mere 36.36 percent from the three-point area (8/22) and 40.54 percent in field goals, and captured 37 rebounds (22 defensive) and recorded 13 assists.

Like this, Brazil were able to recover from the defeat they suffered against Canada in the previous qualifying stage that delayed their arrival at the world stage. Now, they’re celebrating their ticket to the Basketball World Cup in China —their 18th appearance. But first, they’ll fly to Santo Domingo to face the Dominican Republic at Palacio de los Deportes on Monday, February 25, and conclude their road in the 2019 Qualifiers.

At a global scale, this means that 19 of the 32 teams participating in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 are already known, and there are 13 tickets remaining that will be defined once the Qualifiers come to an end.

For some reason, the Virgin Islands team didn’t show up to play in Brazil, as they were supposed to, on February 16 — so the Brazilians came to them and met them on their home court last night.

FIBA on Sunday announced that the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifier game between Brazil and Virgin Islands scheduled for today in Goiania will not take place after the confirmation by the Virgin Islands that they are unable to arrive timely in Brazil.

The Virgin Islands national federation informed FIBA that their team could not make the flights connections to Goiania. As a result, they will forfeit the game which will be awarded to Brazil with a score of 20-0, in accordance with the Official Basketball Rules.

FIBA has initiated an investigation to review the circumstances of the failure of Virgin Islands to arrive in Brazil in time for the game.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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