CARACAS (FIBA Americas Championship/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Mexico are the champions of the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship after beating favourites Puerto Rico
91-89 in a gruelling Final on Wednesday night.
This is the first time in their history that the Mexicans have won the FIBA Americas continental championship.
The title cements what has been a memorable run in Caracas for Sergio Valdeolmillos' side as they achieved an already huge milestone by reaching the tournament's Semi-Finals to qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. They last played in FIBA's flagship event since 1974.
On Wednesday, Mexico were led by the outstanding play from star center and tournament MVP Gustavo Ayon, who was unstoppable on his way to 20 points and 16 rebounds.
He was well seconded by Jovan Harris who erupted for a team-high 23 points, while Lorenzo Mata - usually a defensive player - stepped up with 14 points and 10 boards.
Ayon was named the tournament's MVP.
Carlos Arroyo had 23 points in defeat for Puerto Rico and Jose Juan Barea had 20.
Mexico showed character when coach Valdeolmillos got thrown out in the second half and his team responded well to the challenge of finishing the game without their play caller.
No one expected Mexico to finish among the top four - the places that qualified teams for Spain 2014 - but since day one, they have displayed great basketball skills, balanced offense and defense and by the time the Second Round was underway, they were not a surprise anymore.
Meanwhile, Americas powerhouse Argentina out-hustled a tired Dominican Republic, beating them 103-93 in the Third-Place Game to take the bronze medal.
Facundo Campazzo had 31 points and 11 assists and Luis Scola also came big with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.
Edgar Sosa paced the Dominicans with 20 points and Jack Michael Martinez had 17 to go with 18 rebounds.
Ayon headed the All-Tournament Team and was joined by Argentina's duo of Scola and Campazzo and Puerto Rico's pair of Barea and Renaldo Balkman.
Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina and the Dominican Republic have qualified for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain by virtue of finishing in the top four at the FIBA Americas Championship.
For full and in-depth coverage of the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship, go to the official website http://www.caracas2013.com/en/default.asp?lang=en.