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Feb 19, 2019

Meet Team Belize for the Upcoming FIBA Qualifier

The 2019 season of the National Elite Basketball League has been postponed for this week in anticipation of the regional FIBA qualifying tournament, which will be held from February twenty-second to the twenty-fourth at the Belize City Civic Center. Over the next few days, national teams from Antigua, Cuba and the Bahamas will converge in Belize for the event which will see the top two teams advancing to another round of World Basketball Games. Today, the media caught up with team Belize and head coach Milton Palacio. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Beginning this Friday, team Belize goes head to head with Antigua, Cuba and the Bahamas in a qualifying round for FIBA’s World Cup Basketball. It’s time to defend the country as Belize, for the first time, has a chance to be one of the final sixteen teams in the international tournament. The top two teams from this round of competition will advance, so Belize has a fifty-fifty chance to make the cut.

 

Milton Palacio

Milton Palacio, Head Coach, National Team, Belize

“It’s a four team tournament. If we win two, then it’s a numbers game, but if we win three, then we are going to advance. So our hope is to advance and we are going in very optimistic; we are going to play ball. I know everybody is talking about Cuba, but I think Bahamas is going to be one of the toughest opponents this weekend.”

 

That matchup against the Bahamas is scheduled for Sunday night at eight-thirty p.m. By then, it is the intent that the national team would have already secured a spot, having beaten Antigua and Cuba in the first two matches on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Shooting Guard for the national team, Devin Daly says he is ready, especially since he and his teammates have been engaged in the ongoing NEBL tournament.

 

Devin Daly

Devin Daly, Shooting Guard, National Team, Belize

“Coach Milt change up the offense style. A lot of guys right now are playing the ball very unselfish and I feel like we have a really good chance especially with the talent pool this year.”

 

Duane Moody

“Do you think that the time frame that you guys have is adequate enough?”

 

Devin Daly

“I think so. More time wah always be better, but like Coach Milt say, all the other teams have about a week or two preparation similar to us.”

 

Since last week, team Belize has been in training at the Civic Centre and the vibe from the team today was very youthful. That, coupled with a new strategy, is what Milton Palacio says will hopefully allow for the country to advance its farthest in international basketball.

 

Milton Palacio

“Biggest thing is trying to relax these guys. We got music going, we got guys coming here shooting this morning. I thought that last tournament around with Costa Rica and El Salvador that guys were a little tight. They were trying to make shots and everybody want to play well in front of family and friends when they are home. So this one is going to be a little more laid back, a little more not so uptight, but wanna get after it. These guys are excited they are ready to play. This time we are going with a different team, more guard oriented; I could say a little more shooters. Now with the NBA is going with taller players going a lot of three-point shooting and spacing the floor and small ball so we kinda got more guys like that. It’s tough to put a team together so fast, but it is everywhere around the world. Last time, I put in a couple plays that were little intricate to the guys not used to running plays and running a system. Now it is really open; two or three plays that the guys can really run and they are familiar with and we are going to stick with that. And I think our biggest asset is going to be running. We are going to get out fast break and ready to run these guys because they are coming in here pretty big. So I think that is going to be our biggest asset.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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