First the Puerto Rican National Team loses all three of their games in the inaugural Tuto Marchand Cup, which was hosted in Puerto Rico’s Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum. And so far, Puerto Rico is 1-3 in the Tournament of the Americas, including loses in which they gave up 14 and 19 point leads (over Argentina and Uruguay respectively). And for those indiscretions, PR must sit and await their fate to be decided by how Mexico and Panama (1-2) finish out their last game today. For those counting, Puerto Rico is 1-6 in the last couple weeks.
Their players are certainly not helping to relieve the situation — Daniel Santiago retired from the National Team two weeks before the tournament. Carlos Arroyo is clearly not the same player. Larry Ayuso has been inconsistent and Jose Juan Barea was suspended for two games by FIBA for berating referees in their first TOA game. And PJ Ramos has yet to show up. Ever.
They’re obviously missing the leadership of Piculin – the legendary Jose Ortiz, who retired from basketball in 2006. However, for as great as Ortiz was, he was an older player and his retirement shouldn’t have had this much impact considering the experience of Arroyo and Ayuso. The bottom line is Puerto Rico isn’t performing close to the level we are used to seeing. So what’s the issue? Does coach Manolo Cintron need to go? Is the pairing of Arroyo and Barea in the backcourt creating too much confusion? Did the hole left by Santiago (and Ortiz) make PR too thin upfront? What happened to the Puerto Rico team that was supposed to challenge for a medal?