The Rise of Native Talent on the Puerto Rico National Basketball Team

The current version of the Puerto Rico National Basketball Team is characterized by its native status. This was pointed out by Ysmael Romero himself, who is Cuban, in fact.

“They are young and native, with another culture. And we have to point it out: they are born and raised in Puerto Rico. They have another dynamic as such. You can see that drive and desire to represent with dignity. They are showing it on the court, throwing themselves on the floor, with energy. That is important for what we want to build here,†Romero said in a press conference after a team practice in preparation for their participation in the first FIBA ​​window of the qualifier for the AmeriCup 2025 tournament.

Alphonso Plummer, Jorge Pacheco, Tjader Fernández, ángel Matías, Josué Erazo, Ismael Cruz, Arnaldo Toro are some of those natives who make up the edition of the National Team that this weekend begins its participation in the qualifier towards the AmeriCup 2025 with a game against Bahamas at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum.

In recent Olympic cycles, the National Team has had a majority of players of Puerto Rican descent who have represented the Country with pride and humility. José Alvarado, Isaiah Piñeiro, Renaldo Balkman, Davon Collier, Shabazz Nappier, Dimajh Parker are some of those. This type of Puerto Rican player has come to the National Team in the process of uniting the best eligible and available talent. And it’s not that he’s not present right now.

In today’s practice there are also players of Puerto Rican descent, such as debutant Davon Reed, Wilfredo Rodríguez and Alexander Kappos. They are all part of the first call of the year that will eventually have an edition that will try to qualify Puerto Rican basketball for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Matías was also at a press conference and laughed when he was told that this edition of the National Team speaks Spanish.

Matías added that he feels proud of the group and what he can demonstrate at the Clemente in front of his people and in the eyes of the team management that has given him confidence.

“It is always nice to see colleagues who have been raised and developed in Puerto Rico representing on this great stage. For us, being here, putting on the (Puerto Rico) shirt, listening to the national anthem in front of our people… our hair stands up,’ said Matías, accompanied by the usual gesture when the body reacts in that way.

à ngel MatÃas (left) and Ismael Cruz are two of the native talents of the current edition of the National Team. (Carlos Rivera Giusti)

The general manager of the team, Carlos Arroyo, said that all the players in this edition are under observation and consideration for the next calls, such as the pre-Olympic one, to which Puerto Rico must bring the best among those eligible and available. Arroyo, in fact, belonged to a native and classic group that represented Puerto Rico along with José ‘Piculín’ Ortiz and Eddie Casiano, among others.

National leader Nelson Colón also spoke of that possibility.

“It is a great opportunity for all of them. They are players who are knocking on the doors of staying in the program and making the team great,†Colón said.

This possibility of continuing to rise through the National Team is taken responsibly by this native version, Matías added.

“We are preparing to be able to give the best show to the people who are going to meet and who in the long run are the ones who win. It is a responsibility that we have because we want to demonstrate that we have the quality to represent and help the program. Last year there were 31 members entering and leaving the National Team to create a team and take it to the World Cup. We are clear that we are helping the national program, that we are helping ourselves because at the end of the day what we want is the best for Puerto Rico.â€

2024-02-19 16:55:06
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