The Dominican Republic basketball team’s dream of qualifying for its first Olympic games will have to wait a little longer, as Coach Cal and the crew lost 83-76 to Brazil in the semifinals of the FIBA Americas. Had the Dominican team won, they would have advanced to the finals and automatically qualified for the 2012 games in London. They upset Brazil in the group stage of the tournament but couldn’t repeat the performance, losing twice to them after that. The team seemed to have trouble regrouping after Edgar Sosa’s terrible injury, but performed well overall.
The loss doesn’t signal the end of the team’s chance of qualifying for next year’s Olympics, however. Because they made it to the semifinals of this competition, the Dominicans are eligible for a World Olympic Qualifier in a city to be determined later, where they will again have the opportunity to advance to London.
While the team didn’t fulfill its goal of qualifying through the FIBA Americas tournament, its development from a country with no basketball history into one that was within a whisker of going to the Olympics, and may yet do just that, has been fun to watch. Not to mention we never would have gotten to know Jack Michael Martinez (18 points, 15 boards in the loss) without it. Here’s hoping that they can recover from this setback and book a trip across the pond next year, after all.