The Dominican Republic lost out on a chance to qualify for the 2012 Olympics when they fell to Brazil 83-76 on Saturday in a semifinal match up at the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship. By virtue of making the semifinals, the Dominican Republic will get one last chance to qualify for the Olympics in July at the last chance qualifying tournament.
Brazil's Marcelo Machado scored 20 points and Marcelinho Huertas finished with 19 including eight in the fourth quarter to hold off the Dominican Republic. Jack Michael Martinez finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds while Al Horford added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Dominican Republic.
The last chance tournament will be held just weeks before the 2012 Olympics and the Dominican Republic will be joined by Venezuela and Puerto Rico as teams from the FIBA Americas tournament. Angola, Nigeria, and New Zealand have also earned spots in the tournament. SB Nation's Tom Ziller breaks down how the rest of the tournament field will be populated.
Four additional teams will be added from EuroBasket (the No. 3 through No. 6 finishers) and the second- and third-place teams from the Asia Championship will be given berths, as well. The 12 teams will be split into four pots of three, with a round-robin group stage eliminated one team from each set. The remaining eight nations will jump into a knockout round, where the top three teams advance to the Olympics.
The Dominican Republic has never qualified for the Olympics in basketball before but John Calipari appears to have this group headed in the right direction. They suffered some ups and downs during the tournament with Charlie Villanueva clearly not a full strength and lost point guard Edgar Sosa to a devastating injury. However, with Al Horford anchoring the team and Jack Michael Martinez providing solid play, it appears that they will be a major factor for one of the three wild card spots into the Olympic tournament.
Argentina will take on Brazil in the championship game of the FIBA Americas tournament. It will be televised Sunday night on ESPN2.