Fiba World Cup: Coach takes blame for Dominicans’ defeat in ‘game of the devil’

Dominican Republic coach Nestor Garcia

Dominican Republic coach Nestor Garcia. –MARLO CUETO/

Coach Nestor Garcia took the blame after the Dominican Republic’s loss in the 2023 Fiba World Cup on Friday night put an end to the team’s three-game winning run in the tournament.

“I know we suffer too much with this defeat,” he said after a 102-97 heartbreaker at the hands of Puerto Rico at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

“It was my fault. I could’ve done a lot of things but I didn’t make it (sic(. It is my fault, it’s not the fault of my players,” the animated mentor went on.

The Carribeans looked in control of the contest heading into the final frame until a fightback from the Magnifico’s trio of Tremont Waters, George Conditt, John Holland followed by the finishing blows dealt by Jordan Howard.

“Sometimes I say that this game is the game of the devil. You can win 39 minutes and 59 seconds and still lose,” said Garcia. “This defeat is my fault.”

Karl-Anthony Towns Dominican Republic Fiba World Cup

Dominican Republic’s
Karl-Anthony Towns reacts during a game against Puerto Rico. -MARLO CUETO/

The loss put Karl-Anthony Towns’ 39 points and 10 rebounds, but more importantly, it kept the Domicans from easing ahead in the Group I race which would’ve prevented an early quarterfinal collision with favored Team USA.

The Dominican Republic, Italy, Serbia, and Puerto Rico now all sport an identical 3-1 win-loss record now.

“It’s a tough feeling. I want to get my country a win. A lot of people were counting on us to find a way to win. The guys (Puerto Rico) played great. They played as a team,” said Towns.

Garcia vowed that he will be better against Serbia, which is coming from a stunning loss to the Italians.

“We’ll go against Serbia with everything we’ve got,” he said.

Towns is eager to heed that call.

“I’m here to win games, find a way to win every game and let the chips fall where they may,” he said.

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