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Puerto Rico vs Brazil
Filiberto RIVERA (Puerto Rico). First day of the Quarter Finals round of the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, Las Vegas, USA. 27 August 2007.
27/08/2007Puerto Rico 97 vs. Brazil 75

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LAS VEGAS (2007 FIBA Americas Championship) - Puerto Rico might want to adopt the motto, "Better late than never" for this tournament.

After posting a disappointing 1-3 record in Preliminary Round play, Puerto Rico looked like an entirely different team in its first game of Second Round action.

Behind 24 points from Elias Ayuso, the Puerto Ricans upended Brazil by the final of 97-75.

Leandro Barbosa rebounded from his poor performance against the United States the last time out, scoring a game-high 34 points for Brazil.

It would not be enough, however, on a night when Puerto Rico held the lead the entire way.

Ayuso's three-pointer with five minutes to play, which stretched the lead to 79-56, brought the Puerto Rican fans in attendance to their feet.

Shortly before that bucket during a stoppage of play, Carlos Arroyo could be seen lending instruction and words of encouragement to fellow forward Ricky Sanchez.

If the spirited play and teamwork continues, supporters of Puerto Rico may have plenty more opportunities over the next few days to feel the way they felt tonight.

Tim Kuck
USA Basketball