GUADALAJARA (Pan American Games) - Everything did not go according to plan for Olympic hopefuls Puerto Rico at the Pan American Games.
But the most important thing, did.
Flor Melendez's team, which came within a missed three-ball of upsetting hosts Argentina in the Semi-Finals of this summer's FIBA Americas Championship, beat Mexico, 74-72, on Sunday to capture gold at the Pan American Games.
The aim before Guadalajara was to build some momentum ahead of next year's FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament by reaching the top of the podium in Guadalajara.
With Renaldo Balkman and Jose Barea pouring in 28 and 18 points respectively, the Puerto Ricans accomplished their mission.
"This is a great victory for the country," said coach Melendez.
"I say that we are soldiers of our country and our way of representing Puerto Rico is with a ball.
"We must be happy about that, and more with this team, which left Puerto Rico when nobody was with us, and left to grow during the competition."
Puerto Rico thought veteran NBA guard Carlos Arroyo would be able to play but an injury kept him out of action the entire time.
The national side then had to overcome the loss of Filiberto Rivera with the point guard breaking his nose before the Semi-Final triumph over the Dominican Republic.