Argentina, Brazil qualify for 2012

Sun, 11 Sep 10:20:00 2011

Argentina, Olympic champions in 2004, and Brazil have qualified for the basketball tournament at next year's London Games.

Argentina's Luis Scola (L) and Emanuel Ginobili celebrate a point during the semi-final round FIBA Americas Championship basketball game qualifier for the 2012 Olympic Games, in Mar del Plata September 10, 2011 - 0

The South American rivals were due to meet in the final of the Americas qualifying tournament in Mar del Plata on Sunday having secured the two Olympic berths up for grabs by winning Saturday's semi-finals.

The two teams join title holders the United States from the Americas in London next year.

Argentina, bronze medalists at the 2008 Games in Beijing and featuring several NBA players including San Antonio's Manu Ginobili (pictured, right), had their work cut out to beat Puerto Rico 81-79.

"We'd have had to kill ourselves if we'd lost to Puerto Rico playing at home. We were on the verge (of losing)," a relieved Ginobili told reporters after Argentina's tight victory in the Atlantic seaside resort.

Houston's Luis Scola (pictured, left) with 27 points was Argentina's top scorer in a rollercoaster game in which Puerto Rico led 48-40 at halftime.

Argentina were 77-66 ahead with the clock on 33:30 only for the island team to pull back to 79-79.

Brazil, now coached by Argentine Ruben Magnano who steered the Argentines to their 2004 gold medal in Athens, overcame the Dominican Republic 83-76.

The Brazilian team, who won bronze three times between 1948 and 1964, will be going to the Games for the first time since 1996 in Atlanta.


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