Venezuela cancels Brazil's party plans

July 05, 1992|By Boston Globe

PORTLAND, Ore. -- It was going to be so much fun. Oscar Schmidt and Marcel De Souza were going to fulfill their long-standing dream of playing against the great American professionals. There would be a vast TV audience in Brazil. It would be one of the highlights of their lives.

Instead, Brazil will play Puerto Rico today, not in the Tournament of the Americas final. The Brazilians forgot to take care of the necessary business Friday night, losing a 10-point second half lead, missing 13 consecutive shots down the stretch and eventually losing to Venezuela, 100-91.

"You see my face?" said De Souza. "You like my face the way it is now? We are very unhappy because we lost. We lost to a team that played better than us."

"I always say it is necessary to live in the present, to take one game at a time," added Schmidt. "But there is no doubt that, in our subconscious, we were thinking about playing the Americans."

The Brazilians could be forgiven for being complacent because, just last Sunday, they routed Venezuela, 128-81. But Venezuela has gotten better with each game. It defeated Canada in an emotional battle Thursday to secure a berth in Barcelona, then simply outplayed Brazil in the clutch Friday, led by a remarkable 39-year-old expatriate American point guard named Sam Shepherd.

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