MAR DEL PLATA (FIBA Americas Championship) - Carlos Arroyo knows exactly how it feels to play an Olympic Game. During Athens 2004, Puerto Rico's flag-bearer led the team in scoring, including a great performance in the historical win to the United States in which he contributed 25 points, 7 assists and 4 steals.
Time has passed but little has changed in his role on the team that will fight until the last day to clinch a berth for the London Games.
Arroyo was the team's top scorer during the preliminary round with 14,8 points per game. And when things became even harder, the Boston Celtics' point guard brought in a full repertory of points, assists and leadership.
Venezuela made it to the second round as a tough contender after losing by a small margin to Brazil and Dominican Republic and beating Canada.
But Puerto Rico and Carlos Arroyo put them back in their place.
Arroyo was great during the first half pouring in 10 points and handing out six assists for an eight-point lead at halftime that was only increased until the end of the game.
Puerto Ricans Daniel Santiago and Alex Galindo combined for 40 points.
With this 94-82 win, Puerto Rico accumulate three wins and one loss in the Quarterfinal Group standing.
By the end of the game, Renaldo Balkman (PUR) was sent off after he reacted to an unsportsmanlike foul from Greivis Vásquez (VEN). The American-born headbutted him and started a fight that ended with Néstor Colmenares (VEN) pushing Balkman and being sent-off as well.
NBA recent champion José Juan Barea talked to FIBA on Arroyo's role in the team.
"He's our captain, the leader, the veteran. He's been here for so many years and he's doing a great job leading the team," said Barea.
Barea, who averages 10,8 points and 5,8 assists per game, also explained how Arroyo tells the team on the importance of playing an Olympic Game.
"He tells us stories of the Olympics, he brings up to date on everything together with (Daniel) Santiago."