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Jul 11, 2018

Milt Palacio in Belize to Coach National Men’s Team for FIBA Qualifier

Former NBA athlete, Milt Palacio is in Belize to train the national men’s basketball team which has just been formed to compete against teams from the region in the Central American Championship, a qualifier for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Palacio touched down on Sunday from Canada and has been putting the team together and prepping them for the regional match which will be hosted at the Belize City Civic Center. Two or three other Belizean basketballers from the U.S. have been recruited to the team. Today we spoke with Palacio about how he hopes to advance the team to the World Cup of basketball.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Under-fifteen Boys National Basketball Team recently secured bronze medals at the COCABA Central American Championship held in El Salvador between April eleventh and fifteenth, 2018. But over the weekend, the Belize Basketball Federation held a selection camp for the Belize Men’s National Team in preparation for the upcoming Central American Championship which will be hosted in the next two weeks at the Civic Center in Belize City. National Team Head Coach is Milton Palacio, who arrived in Belize on Sunday.

 

Milton Palacio

Milton Palacio, Head Coach, National Men’s Basketball Team

“We made a couple cuts so we had a couple tryouts. We had a two-day tryout and right now we have about fourteen guys but we are going to bring a couple more guys in. So we are going to cut our roster down next weekend and get ready for this tournament. We are excited. I think a lot of people are saying that the amount of days is short to put a team together but this is what happens when you put a team together to represent a country.”

 

Some familiar faces making the cut so far are Devin Daly, Jared Chatham and Charles Garcia. Palacio says that the players will have to learn fast, but it’s a talented blend of athleticism as well as defensive and offensive play that the team will employ.

 

Milton Palacio

“Having a guy like Charles Garcia come in; we’re all waiting for him to come in—wish he would have come in when I was playing—but he is coming on Monday. And having another young kid, Chatham and Devin Daly and Coupe and Dougie and Richie and those guys; I think we have a lot of good talent and we have some smart players coming in.  I am a defensive guy. I made my living in the NBA playing defense so it is going to be defense. It is going to be physicality—we are going to play hard, we are going to play tough. That’s how we play, but now we have some offensive-minded guy. Charles Garcia who is coming in averages about eighteen twenty point in the G-League with the Austin Spurs. Coupe’s playing great. He had a hell of a run with the Belize Hurricanes. Devin is a sharp shooter; he can really shoot the ball. But all these guys like to defend also so we have to keep in defense. But I think what the fans will see is us up-tempo a lot; we are going to run a little bit more and try to get out and shoot the ball.”

 

Now it has been two decades since Belize has hosted a regional basketball tournament. It is the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers for the Americas. If Belize wins, it joins the national teams from Mexico and Panama which have already secured two of the three spots. Palacio says his eyes are on Costa Rica and El Salvador.

 

Milton Palacio

“It will definitely be Costa Rica. I think Costa Rica is a team that we have our eyes on, but we can’t overlook El Salvador either cause they are pretty good and I think they beat us in Nicaragua, but it was a strategy by me to not foul towards the end of the game because of the points. I knew if we fouled the points go up and we wouldn’t have advanced to the bronze medal game. So it will be Costa Rica; that’s gonna be a tough challenge for us. But I think we are ready. Once we get all our guys in together and playing stuff we will be fine. If we can win this tournament, it will be us three going into next tournament in Colombia. So this tournament is huge for us and it is huge for the country. And the way we are approaching it, the professional way that we are approaching it, it is going to be good.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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