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MADRID (FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women) – Cuba have serious designs on reaching the Beijing Games but they almost came unstuck against Chinese Taipei on Monday.
Alberto Zabala’s team led 52-51 midway through the third quarter but finally woke up and beat the opponents from the Far East 96-79.
Yakelyn Plutin had 19 points and 13 rebounds but the Cubans’ biggest contribution came from the red-hot three-point shooter Suchitel Avila, a player who will have a statue erected in her honour back in Havana if she continues to play as she did on Monday.
Avila erupted for 15 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter when Cuba finally put away their opponents.
She buried four of six shots from behind the arc and also grabbed five rebounds.
Cuba will take on Belarus on Tuesday and Chinese Taipei will face the same opponents on Wednesday.