Volleyball and baseball have guaranteed tickets to the Olympics.
But also basketball? It would be an extraordinary feat for the Dominican Republic to have three teams together. Three?
This Tuesday, the Dominican men’s basketball team will begin to answer that question, when the pre-Olympic playoff begins in which it will face Serbia and the Philippines, in duels corresponding to Group A. Italy and Puerto Rico will compete in Group B and they already have a place for the next round, as Senegal, the third country, was absent due to COVID-19 cases.
On July 1 he will play the Philippines. The tournament will be played in Belgrade, Serbia on the Aleksandar Nikolic Hall court.
“The objective is to cross” to the next round “so as not to make us false expectations,” said the manager-assistant of the team, José -Maíta- Mercedes.
The Pre-Olympic will conclude on July 4 and it will be a giant feat for the Dominican team if it reaches that final date, since the tournament only offers a single ticket for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The semifinal will be a crusader, between the first against the second place of the rival group.
The rest of the country’s team teams stayed in the race and the last one to do so was baseball, a sport that will be in Tokyo, but will be out in Paris 2024.
This team is decimated, due to the absence of tall men such as Eloy Vargas, Ángel Delgado and Juan Guerrero as well as Luis David Montero, not to mention the two enebeists Al Horford and Karl-Anthony Towns, who once again leave a bad impression. to the national team. The team is made up of Brandone Francis, Rigoberto Mendoza, Adonys Henríquez, Gelvis Solano, Víctor Liz, Sadiel Rojas, Andrés Féliz, Ángel Núñez, Brayan Martínez, Jhonatan Araujo, Michael Torres and Luis Santos.
“Even if Serbia is the favorite, they have to play,” Torres said. “If they are good, they should show it on the court, but in the end you have to go day by day.”
These warriors will have to go step by step in what looks like an unequal fight. “The only thing at the moment is that we are going with this material to a competition at the highest level,” said Mercedes.
In this case, for the majority of this group, it is the first time they will collide with teams of a similar category in official matches. “It’s good that they can see, like at the end of the tunnel, ah, this is so; ah, but to get to this competition I have to do this, look at the effort that must be made to get there, “said Mercedes.
The approach of Mercedes is that the players, regardless of the result is that they see “to what extent we can see world talent and we can say, we must prepare, it is a good litter, young people”, even when some veterans are counted, such as Liz, Rojas and Mendoza.
Sports set down
Soccer, in its two branches, has huge steps left to think about or reach an Olympic place; handball was out of the Pan American Games in Lima (the female was fifth and the male did not attend), where only gold wins the ticket to the Olympics. Men’s 3×3 basketball had a chance, albeit a slight one, in Austria last month; it was affected by a strange system of classification by means of points. Field hockey is the furthest for an Olympic position, of all the sports in the country, a square that it shares with water polo. Although the volleyball is, it is only the feminine one; the male has pending and very complicated tasks.