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Dec 4, 2017

Milt Palacio’s Belize Evens Score Versus Costa Rica at C.A. Games

Every four years, Central America’s top athletes gather to test themselves against each other in various sporting disciplines. The eleventh edition of the Central American Games kicked off on Sunday in Managua, Nicaragua. Belize’s participation consists of one hundred and twenty-nine athletes along with coaches and officials, taking part in twelve disciplines from athletics to volleyball. Tonight we feature the basketball team. It is young and talented but had a rough going in its first outing, losing seventy-three to forty-nine to Panama. Today, they faced off with and defeated Costa Rica seventy-seven to sixty-four, evening their record at one win and one loss. The coach is a familiar face – none other than former N.B.A. and college player and national team captain Milton Palacio. He spoke to chief of mission Herman Pastor Junior in Nicaragua about the team’s plans and efforts in the regional tournament.

 

Milton Palacio

Milton Palacio, Coach, Belize National Basketball Team

“I think it was a big shock to those guys; I think the level of play Panama came with was a big shock, but I thought we settled down and started to play basketball. In the first half, we played a great first half – we gave them fourteen points in the first quarter and fifteen points in the second quarter; our defense was great but I think we had too many turnovers, we threw the ball around. And that comes with being a young team and a team that hasn’t been together for so long, but there’s no excuses, I think there’s no excuses for that, but we did well. The third quarter was a tough one; I think like I told the guys this morning – what hurt us is because our defense was in front of us in the first half but in the second half it wasn’t in front of us and we stopped talking and we stopped relying on our rules. So we just have to be disciplined; I think that’s the biggest thing right now; being disciplined and staying on course. You have to play for four quarters; you can’t play three quarters. We played three quarters great on paper, and one quarter hurts you and you’re down by twenty.”

 

 

Reporter

“We had an addition to the team today; Alex Carcamo came in last night. What role will he play?”

 

 

Milton Palacio

“He’s not coming in to score thirty; we’re not going to jump on his back. I think he’s coming to add veteran leadership – I think that’s the biggest thing we need right now, to see a guy who can play the four positions who can play basketball. Right now we need somebody that’s a playmaker. Right now we don’t have that – we have Richie and Dougie and those guys but they’re not playmakers, they need somebody who can make plays for them. So it’s tough, but I’ve told them from day one when I landed in Belize – nobody’s going to feel sorry for you. So you’ve got to keep playing; got to keep grinding it out; and you’ve got to keep listening to the rules –the biggest thing is do what you’ve been taught. We watched film yesterday and nothing beat us that surprised us – nobody scored fifty, thirty points last night; their highest scorer was maybe fifteen, fourteen points. So we know what it takes – it’s just being disciplined and doing what we’re taught and that’s what I’ve said from day one.”

 

Reporter

“We are playing Costa Rica in a couple of hours; how do you see that going?”

 

Milton Palacio

“I think it’s going to go well, I think the guys are focused in. I think that it’s just – the biggest thing for me is trying to break a culture. I think the guys are a little too relaxed; and for me guys don’t understand the sense of urgency. And that’s one thing I’m trying to bring to these guys; a sense of urgency, that you have to be – from when you wake up this morning, when you eat breakfast, when we sit down and have a meeting, when you get on the bus – you have to have a routine where you are locked in, have a sense of urgency, and some guys this morning were a little lackadaisical, smiling, joking and this is no joking matter. Because right now, you lose, you’re out. I told the guys – if you lose, you’re out; but we win, the ball is back in our corner, we have momentum, and now we control our own destiny. So the biggest thing is seizing the moment, the sense of urgency. Everything counts now. Every possession counts tonight.”

 

The games conclude on December seventeenth. The Belize Olympic Committee and the various national sporting federations and associations collaborated to select and prepare athletes for each of the several disciplines represented.

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