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Freeman Cebu Sports

The original Dream Team

SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo - The Freeman

The USA Basketball Dream Team to the 1992 Barcelona Games is no doubt the greatest ever in Olympic history.  Just look at the line-up, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, David  Robinson, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler, John Stockton, Chris Mullin and Christian Laettner.  The team clobbered the opposition to pocket the gold medal.  The current team, (can we call it  another Dream Team?), now playing in the Tokyo  Olympics , is bannered by Kevin Durant, Chris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard, Bam  Adebayo among others, but is not so impressive, losing two exhibition games in Las Vegas before dropping its first game to France in Tokyo.  Did you know there’s an original Dream Team in the 1960 Rome Olympics? At that time, it was heralded as the greatest team ever put together in the USA.  The team  consisted of Jerry  West, Oscar Robertson, Jerr Lucas, Adrian Smith, Walt Bellamy, Darrall Imhof, Bob Boozer, Jay Arnette, Terry Dischinger, Allen Kelley, Lester Lane and Burdette Holdorson.  The team swept through eight games with margins of 24 points or more.  The team was coached by Pete Newell, who went on to coach the San Diego Rockets.  The team was top-heavy in centers, Bellamy (6’11”) Imhoff (6’11”) Boozer, Lucas and Holdorson who were all 6’8”.  In its first game the US Team blasted Italy 88-54 with Adrian Smith  scoring 17, Robertson 16, Jerry West 11 and Bellamy 10.  In the second game, the US beat Japan 125-66 with Jerry Lucas accounting for 28 points and West 14.  The third game was  against Hungary, Lucas scattered  21 points, Robertson 22 and West 17.  it was all over in the first half in its fourth game versus Yugoslavia 63-14.  USA then cruised to a 104-63 win.   Dischinger and Robertson each scored 16, Boozer 15 and West 14.  It was another blowout  in the first half, 65-19 against  Uruguay as the US Team breezed to a 108-50 victory.  Smith scored 15, with  Robertson and Bellamy each scoring 13.   For  its sixth game against Russia, USA won 81-57 as West  top-scored with 19, Robertson  16 and Lucas 12.  The US Team  faced

 Italy for the second time and mangled the Italians 112-81.  And finally in its last game with Brazil, the Brazilians scored only 2 points in the first 5 minutes while the US tallied 16.  The US won 90-63 with Lucas leading the route with 23, Robertson  12 and Smith 11.  Brazil’s top player Walmir Marques had 19 points and said after the game.  “This was the greatest team I ever played against”.  Do you agree? “ BIsan unsaon I’m sticking to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics USA team, as the greatest ever.

Gold at last

Even before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, I wrote In several columns that with a well-prepared team, the Philippines will win its first gold medal after 97 frustrating years.  I also picked Hidilyn Diaz as our best bet to end our quest for the elusive dream.  True enough, Hidilyn won our first-ever gold in the 55kg event of women’s weightlifting, after lifting 127kg in the clean and jerk, an Olympic record.  Earlier, she cleared 97kg in the snatch.  Her combined weight of 224kg is also an Olympic record.

I also picked EJ Obiena, Caloy Yulo and Yuka Saso  as potential gold winners.  Of course, the boxers are also our best bets, considering  the fact that its in boxing, where we won two silvers and one bronze medals in the Olympics.  In 1964, also in Tokyo, Anthony Villanueva also won a silver  while Onyok Velasco added another silver in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.  As I write this column, three of our boxers are in contention for the gold.   Nesthy Petecio outpointed Italy’s Irma Testa in their women’s featherweight semi-final match to move one win for another gold.  On the other hand, Carlo Paalam “wala pa ni paalam” when he won a 5-0 decision over Mohamad Flissi of Algeria. He will next face 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist Shakhibidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan  in the quarter  finals.  Still in contention is Eumir Marcial who stopped Younes Nemouchi to advance to the middleweight semifinals.

As I was ending this column, Marcial knocked out Arman Darchinyan of Armenia in th first round to annex a sure bronze medal.   Of course, my other choices are pole vaulter  E.J Obiena who book a ticket to the finals after clearing  5.75m in his final attempt, golfer US Women’s champion Yuka Saso and gymnast Caloy Yulo.

USA
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