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Final Standings
 1. Mexico *
 2. Belize **
 3. Panama
 4. Costa Rica.
 5. Guatemala
 6. Nicaragua
 7. Honduras
 8. El Salvado.
* Qualified for the 2010 Centrobasket Tournament.
** Classification subject to result of appeal about player eligibility.
Preliminary Round Standings
Group A
 1. Mexico 2-0 
 2. Costa Rica. 1-1 
 3. El Salvado. 0-2 
Group B
 1. Panama 2-0 
 2. Guatemala 1-1 
 3. Nicaragua 0-2 

Mexico won COCABA 2009

Mexico won COCABA 2009

Mexican 2009 roster
Starting Five in BOLD letters
Horacio Llamas
Arim Abdul Solares
Romel Beck
Omar Quintero
Enrique Zuniga
4 Karim Malpica (190-G-78) of Soles de Mexicali
5 Jesus Lopez (205-F-83) of Caballeros de Culiacan
6 Anthony Pedroza (191-G-79) of Rayos de Hermosillo
7 Horacio Llamas (212-C-73) of Trigueros de Ciudad Obregon
8 Arim Abdul Solares (202-F/C-83) of Santos Reales de San Luis Potosi
9 Romel Beck (203-G/F-82) of Dakota Wizards (USA)

10 Miguel Ayala (198-F/G-82) of Coras de Nayarit
11 Omar Quintero (183-G-81) of Gigantes de Guayana (VEN)
13 Enrique Zuniga (193-G-76) of Frayles de Guasave

15 Hugo Carrillo (205-C/F-83) of Trigueros de Ciudad Obregon
Head Coach: Arturo Guerrero All-COCABA Championships 2009 Awards - Aug 18, 2009

All-COCABA 1st Team 2009
Romel Beck
Joel Munoz
Horacio Llamas
Omar Quintero
Jose Lloreda

Notice: The players from countries (Belize and Honduras), which participation was put on hold based on appeal (related to questionable players nationalities) were not included in the awards.

Best Player: Romel Beck (203-G/F-82) of Mexico
Best Guard: Joel Munoz (179-G-80) of Panama
Best Forward: Romel Beck (203-G/F-82) of Mexico
Best Center: Horacio Llamas (212-C-73) of Mexico
Best Coach: Arturo Guerrero of Mexico

1st Team
PG: Joel Munoz (179-G-80) of Panama
PG: Omar Quintero (183-G-81) of Mexico
SF: Romel Beck (203-G/F-82) of Mexico
F: Jose Lloreda (201-F-80) of Panama
C: Horacio Llamas (212-C-73) of Mexico

Honorable Mention
Anthony Pedroza (191-G-79) of Mexico
Jair Peralta (178-G-76) of Panama
Danilo Pinnock (196-G-83) of Panama
Hernold Gardener (205-C-82) of Costa Rica
Daniel Simmons (193-F-80) of Costa Rica
Clifford Smith (193-G-82) of Costa Rica
Ricardo Amaya (191-G-84) of Guatemala
Oscar Salguero (196-F-87) of Guatemala
Noel Makence (188-G-78) of Nicaragua
Troy Watson (197-F/C-82) of Nicaragua   

Real Mess finally ended - Aug. 15, 2009 
The most messy event you could find probably ever.
It's a strange evenement: first teams were disqualified, then just to appear in the final stage and even in the final.
Just try to follow of what happened the last days in Cancun.
Maybe it's stillpost-N2H2 virus effect which made everyone scared to make any decision. Or maybe sunny Caribbean beaches in Yucatan peninsula, which prevented FIBA employees from making any proper decision.
The fact is that we do not remember to have bigger mess in the history of international basketball events. During the Cold War it was at least everything clear: these teams participate and these do not participate in the tournament. But here at COCABA you ...never know.
Were supposed to be 8 teams at the tournament? Yes. No more the case as Belize and Honduras were disqualified.
Then the same two teams ...still played the 'exhibition' games along with 'official' games of the other teams. Cool, they already paid for their tickets, yes? So why not to play anyway?
Then we had semifinals announced - great, at least the tournament is almost over. But whoever was hoping to see actually these semifinal games was ...wrong again. Suddenly the two disqualified teams jumped in the final day and one of them did it directly to the final (after winning another 'unofficial' semifinal game.
I feel only sorry for poor Panama, which was somehow cheated out of the second place, which would guarantee them trip to Central American tournament.
Their federation did great job being the second best team at the tournament and in consequence ending the event ...on the third position. So they did not qualify to Centrobasket and new 'basketball powerhouse' Belize will represent COCABA at that tournament. Maybe Panama should also consider getting few high level U.S. players. No one cares anyway of checking any passports any more, so why not join the club?
Not that I have anything against Belize federation. Notice that Belize did not break any rules. According to Belize law, someone who can prove that his parents are from Belize, receives automatically Belizean citizenship. So here everything was OK and players like Marlon Garnett (188-G-75, college: Santa Clara), Leon Watson (203-F/C-77, college: UTSA), Charlie Burgess, Gene Myvett (193-G-82, college: Cal.St.-Los Angeles), Dakin Braddick (213-C-84, college: Benedict) and Keenan Jourdon (202-F-74, agency: Paris Global Sports, college: Boston Coll.) (played also in ...Puerto Rican NT) could prove their Belizean roots ...or not.

Please notice another similar case, which just happened at African Championships, which took place in Libya. The host team did not really announce their roster for the tournament and no media could find the names of the players till the event started. They did it just a day before the tournament. And here a nice surprise. There were three new players in a team, who played way better than rest of the team and all three spoke ...fluent English. They were Raed Elhamali (204-F/C-79, agency: Edge Sports, college: San Diego St.) (AKA: Randy Holcomb, drafted by San Antonio Spurs in 2002), Hesham Salem (206-F/C-81, agency: Octagon, college: Fresno St.) (AKA Hiram Fuller, drafted by Yakima Sun Kings (CBA) in 2003) and Alfath Belgasem (197-F/G-80, college: St.John's) (AKA: Alpha Bangura, drafted by Fayetteville Patriots (NBDL) in 2002). Luckily Libyan head coach Kevin Nickelberry could still keep his original name and did not have to be suddenly naturalized like his players. Well, we have to admit that it was mentioned before in media that they 'work' with Libyan national team helping them prepare for African Championships. But do not you think it's a very significant difference between 'working' with a team and 'playing' for a team? Suddenly Libyan team jumped from 3rd league of African countries to top elite by citizenship to three experienced Americans. What could we do? The tournament takes place in Libya, so should we ban the host team from participating in the tournament? Of course not. So poor Morocco and Egypt, which probably never in history lost a single game against Libya, and now they were beaten for the very first time by another 'basketball powerhouse', this time in north Africa. It only confirms that this year is very 'special' and it seems there something has to be done to control these events more closely to avoid similar cases. It's simply too many of them at the same time. They did happen in the past. But there were single cases and not even every year. But it never happened we had such many NTs trying to 'cheat' somehow adding extra players with questionable papers to their rosters, all of them at the same time.

Mexico won the 2009 COCABA Championship - Aug. 15, 2009 
Mexico won the 2009 COCABA Championship after beating Belize 106-103 in the Gold medal game played at Poliforum Benito Jurez.
A flagrant foul by Keenan Jourdon (202-F-74, agency: Paris Global Sports, college: Boston Coll.) against Horacio Llamas (212-C-73) sent him to the line to break the 103-103 tie after two free throws with 27 seconds left. Then Gustavo Ayon (209-F/C-85, college: San Jose St.) went to the line in the next play to secure a three point lead.
The Mexicans finished the first quarter down 31-28 but reacted in the second to finish up 54-45. Romel Beck (203-G/F-82, agency: Interperformances, college: UNLV) had 15 points and Noe Alonzo (200-F-83, college: Grand Canyon) 11 at the half.
Belize had a great third period and took the lead 78-77 but in the final quarter the Mexicans made another run with better execution and dominance in the paint.
In the win Romel Beck had 26 points and Noe Alonzo 21. In the loss Marlon Garnett (188-G-75, college: Santa Clara) netted 43 points.
Panama beat Costa Rica 86-69 to finish third in the tournament. Joel Muoz had 24 points and Leo Pomare 18 for the winners.
After being down 36-31 at half, Panama reacted led by Muoz and Danilo Pinnock (196-G-83, agency: SportsTalent, college: George Washington) to get the win. The second haalf was for Panama 55-33.
Daniel Simmons (193-F/C-80) led Costa Rica with 21 points while Clifford Smith (193-G-82, college: Barry) had 18.
Honduras beat El Salvador 65-58 and Guatemala won over Nicaragua 91-80 in the Classification Round.

Final Positions:
1. Mexico*
2. Belize**
3. Panama
4. Costa Rica
5. Guatemala
6. Nicaragua
7. Honduras
8. El Salvador

* Qualified for the 2010 Centrobasket Tournament.
** Classification subject to result of appeal about player eligibility.

Centrobasket 2010:
Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands (Gold and Silver from last Centrobasket).
Jamaica, British Virgin Islands and Cuba (CBC).
Mxico and Belize (COCABA).
1 Host for 2010 Centrobasket Tournament.
Courtesy of FIBA Americas

Team Honduras defeated three times in COCABA tournment - Aug. 14, 2009 
After falling to home team Mexico (43-145...) and to El Salvador, Team Honduras felt to Costa Rica 63-70 in the third game of 'Group A' of the COCABA Champioship 2009. The Honduras games, however, were considered by FIBA America as 'exhibition games' during this competition, due to unregular registraation of some players. According with non official souces, the roster of Team Honduras for this edition of COCABA was as follows:
Jose Luis Lopez
Alvin Cacho (-87)
Octavio Matamoros (190-G/F-86)
Mario Amador
Omar Cacho (-F/C-85)
Jerry Echenique (201-C-79, college: High Point)
Cesar Stling (198-F-74)
Erlin Marlin Gonzalez
Pedro Salazar (204-C-72)
Michael Martinez (186-G-88)
Joseph Flower (-75)
Selvin Connor (200-F-74)

Belize beats Costa Rica and heads to COCABA finals - Aug. 14, 2009 
(By Channel 5 News)
Yesterday it was Panama, today in semifinal play Team Belize won comfortably over Costa Rica by 24 points on the way to proving that games should be settled on the court. Final score: Belize - Costa Rica 99-75.
So whats next for our Dream Team? Team Mexico in the finals. Yesterday Mexico demolished Costa Rica by one score of a 101-66.
If you care to do some basketball analysis and do the math Mexico won by 35 points, while Belize won by only 24 points. What that means in the scheme of things as Belize draws one step closer to gold is anybodys guess. Reports out of Cancun earlier today suggested that COCABA officials were agitating that Costa Rica face Panama instead of Team Belize. Fortunately for Belize, Panama took a stand and COCABA officials were forced to continue with the tournament as scheduled. Reports are that if Belize defeats Mexico tomorrow or not, our medal standing will hinge on the pending appeal. If Belize wins the appeal, we are guaranteed a spot in next years Centro Basket Tournament on the way to the 2012 London Olympics. We encourage you to tune once again to Channel Fives Morning Show Open Your Eyes and News Five for continued coverage of the COCABA Championship for Men from Cancun.

Summary of Day 2 in Mexico  - Aug. 13, 2009 
Group A
El Salvador - Mexico 67-121
It was the first appearance for Mexico and the first win. The hosts of COCABA Championship totally destroyed El Salvador 121-67 and they will meet Costa Rica in the next match. In case of win Mexico will advance to Semifinals as No.1 of Group A. El Salvador already fell to 0-2 and no chance to advance. Romel Beck (203-G/F-82, agency: Interperformances, college: UNLV) led the winners with 23 points. Arim Abdul Solares (202-F/C-83) had 17 and Omar Quintero (183-G-81, college: S.Nazarene) netted one point less. James Valladares (203-C-89) responded with 25 points and 6 rebounds in loss. Jorge Loucel (186-F-90) was the last one with double-digits in scoring, 10 pts.

Group B
Nicaragua - Panama 65-96
Panama grabbed the second win on COCABA Championship in Mexico. It means that Panamanians already secured position No.1 in Group B and they will have a day off before the Semifinals. On the other side, it was the first appearance for Nicaragua on this event. Day 3 will be the crucial one for them as they will meet Guatemala. The winner of that match will advance to Semifinals. Danilo Pinnock (196-G-83, agency: SportsTalent, college: George Washington) once again shined in victory collecting 19 points and 8 rebounds. Jose Lloreda (201-F-80, college: LSU) and Ernesto Oglivie (199-F-88) added 12 points each. In the loosing squad, Noel Antonio Makence drained 24 points. Troy Watson (197-F/C-82) was behind him with 13 pts.

FIBA rejection of national team forces PM involvement - Aug. 13, 2009 
(By Channel 5 Belize)

The game between Belize and Panama is over, but the tough battle is still looming ahead and its not even with the Mexican team either. It is the International Basketball Federations vehemence for claiming that most of the players who were not born in Belize were naturalized citizens, and only one of which would be able to play per game according to FIBA rules. But the players arent naturalized so that didnt work. And on last nights newscast, we reported on the new age rule that FIBA threw at the team. The fans and supporters cried foul and the prime minister via phone today confirmed that FIBAs new rule is apparently not even in the rule book.

Via Phone: Prime Minister Dean Barrow
Even a knowledge of the rules cant help you if it turns out that governing bodies will do a number in the way it appears the FIBA body has done a number. I am saying that when I saw the rules afterwards, the rules dont say what the general secretary told me so it seems that were so much at the mercy of the whims of these international sporting bodies that its a great pity. I didnt have a copy of the rules with me at the time and so when the Secretary General said the rules said A and the rules said B I was in no position to argue. After I had completed the call, Mr. Ellis and Mr. Murillo had arrived and they brought me a copy of the rules. In a sense it was a pity I wasnt able to speak from knowledge of the rules when I was dialoguing with Mister Baumann. In any event I dont know that it would have made any difference just to put me in a stronger position to argue the case from a position of authority. Mr. Baumann is saying that it has nothing to do with whether these Belizean players are naturalized Belizeans or Belizeans by descent. They accept fully that these players are Belizeans by descent but hes saying that according to the rules if you are entitled to nationality by descent and you dont take it up before youre sixteen then thats a problem in terms of youre playing for, in this case, the Belizean National Team. When I looked at the rules afterwards, the rules say no such thing. In any case we went back and forth. And at the end he said it was not his personal decision. The secretariat or the governing body had met and discussed this issue and the decision was what it was. I asked himI indicated that we would be seeking to protest and to appeal and I asked him to indicate to the governing body that we really needed for them to keep the matter under review and basically thats how the conversation ended.

The Prime Minister said that the Ministry of Finance is taking up the cost of the appeal and he will do whatever he can to see the issue resolved.

Belize wins third COCABA game and beats Panama - Aug. 13, 2009 
(ByChannel 5 Belize)

Belize ninety-two, Panama eighty-eight and with that score Belizes unblemished record on the court continued in the COCABA Championship for men. Although Team Belize is not ranked among the top fifty, our dream team defeated Panama despite its ranking as twenty-ninth on the world basketball charts. Team Belize proved too much for Team Panama. Despite rumours of a no show by Team Panama for todays match, the game was off to an interesting start and in the final quarter the score remained close but in the end Belize secured its third win.

Team Belize is hoping to guarantee a spot in next years Centro Basket Tournament on the way to the 2012 London Olympics. But that might just be forlorn hope for Belize as FIBAs position is still uncertain due to the Belize team fielding five players deemed ineligible. According to information received from our team in Cancun, Belize is merely playing as a visitor and not a competitor. News Fives correspondent, Ava Lovell, spoke with President of the Belize Basketball Federation, Paul Thompson, who says that a formal appeal has been sent out to FIBA Switzerland about this development. Thompson says that a response must be given before the semi-finals of the tournament scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday.

Paul Thompson, President, Belize Basketball Federation
We received a letter yesterday indicating that the games are unofficial and that they are having us play but it is not official. So that is the status of what they are saying.

Ava Lovell
So hence the reason for the appeal?

Paul Thompson
Exactly, so we are appeal based on that. An appeal has been formally sent to FIBA offices in Switzerland along with payment of a fee for an appeal and we have received acknowledgement of receipt of this appeal from FIBA Secretary General, Mr. Baumann.

Ava Lovell
Is there any indication as to how long before you get a response?

Paul Thompson
No, we havent gotten any word of how long a response will be, but we indicated in our mail that it is urgent and that we are about to play our third game of the first round and that we are looking forward to moving on to the next round.

Ava Lovell
Okay, so if a response is not received prior to the semifinals round what would that mean for Belize?

Paul Thompson
Right now the status is that the games are unofficial and we want to look at it positively and we believe that we will get a response before game time tomorrow. We will continue on course.

We will keep our ears to the ground in Cancun and make an announcement as soon as Team Belizes status is finalized before semi-final play. Tune into Channel Fives Morning Show Open Your Eyes and News Five for continued coverage of the COCABA Championship for Men from Cancun.

Team Belize goes on in winning, in spite of disqualification - Aug. 12, 2009 
(Courtesy of Channel 5 Belize) After having destroyed Team Nicaragua 97-67 in Day 1, the Belizean National Basketball Team demolished Guatemala 101-64 in Day 2 of COCABA Championship, but these two 30-plus wins will not be so useful. In fact, FIBA America officials disqualified Team Belize and removed it from the FIBA offiicial Cocaba website after finding that almost half of the players in roster were not eligible to play. Answered about the FIBA decision, Enrique Basulto, President of COCABA, stated: 'The situation with Belize is that they turned in documents to FIBA America that had six players that needed to be revised by FIBA International. Based on this information, it was not clear whether they are players from Belize, by birth specifically. FIBA has a rule regarding nationalization, which states that each country can select one player with a questionable nationality status and that is what we told the Belizean team. There are no sanctions that will be put in place against Belize. This is just a matter of rules and procedures. Teams that play with players that FIBA has not approved, will play as part of invitational matches. They will not count officially for the tournament. We need to review the case of Belize. The Federation needs to pay close attention to what has happened and work closely with the Central American organization so we could address these problems regarding documentation and the lack of organization by the Federation.' Basulto also said that Team Honduras were disqualified along the same lines as Team Belize and its games too will be considered as 'exhibition games' during this competition.

Summary of Day 1 in Mexico - Aug. 11, 2009 
COCABA Championship started yesterday in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Costa Rico and Panama opened the event with victories jumping to 1-0 record in their Groups.

Costa Rica outsmarted El Salvador 77-72 mostly owing to nice played third quarter. The teams were tied after 20 minutes (34-34), but Costa Ricans grabbed lead after the breather and never looked back. They drained 24 points in third period, limiting their rivals on 17. In the last ten minutes Costa Rica was strong enough to keep its lead. Except of these two teams, participant of Group A is also the host - Mexico. The Mexicans will meet El Salvador tomorrow.

In the second game of Day 1 Panama blasted Guatemala 108-75. Danilo Pinnock demonstrated magnificent performance for the winners scoring 35 points. Jaime Lloreda (201-F-80, college: LSU) followed him with 11. Panama made 22-20 lead in the first quarter and they extended it to plus 14 until the half time. That was the end for Guatemalans as they never seriously threatened later. Beside these two teams, there is another one in Group B - Nicaragua. Tomorrow in its first performance Nicaragua will take on Panama.

Team Guatemala falls to Panama  - Aug. 11, 2009 
The opening game of the COCABA 2009 was unlucky for Team Guatemala, largely defeated by Panama, 75-108. Danilo Pinnock (196-G-83, agency: SportsTalent, college: George Washington) was unstoppable for the Guatemalans, and scored 35 point at the winning side. With 18 points, Ricardo Amaya (191-G-84, agency: Tank Sports) was the ast to surrender.

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