Haiti’s participation in the FIBA 3×3 Americup tournament ended in the qualifying draw after the men’s team lost against Jamaica, 21-11 on Friday. The Haitian team’s coach, Ashley Salomon, called Haiti’s participation a “bittersweet” experience that ended earlier than hoped.
“I was happy that we were able to make it,” Salomon said. “But I believe that we could have done much more with better preparation and more stable conditions in the country.”
The team was not able to train properly because of the ongoing fuel crisis in Haiti, Salomon said. The players were able to obtain visas for the U.S. only two days before the start of the tournament, and they arrived in Miami less than 24 hours before their first game.
Organized by Vaunt, a sports and entertainment company based in Miami, the first-ever edition of the FIBA 3×3 Americup drew 16 teams in the men’s category from 16 countries to play at Bayfront Park during the weekend. “The FIBA 3×3 AmeriCup 2021 will be a great way to expand the game across the globe,” FIBA’s office in the Americas Executive Director Carlos Alves said.
The Haitian men’s team started the tournament Friday morning with a win of 21-19 over Aruba, after initially trailing 18-11. Antoine Joseph scored three baskets to start the comeback for the team. With the game tied at 19-19, Gregory Molthon scored the game-winning basket with a three-pointer, following a block by Walky Petit.
Antoine Joseph led all scorers with nine points, while Grégory Molthon finished with six points, Walker Petit with five points and Didier Dutelien with one.
In the second game to determine which team would advance to the main draw, Haiti lost 21-11 to an experienced Jamaica team that included Romaine Thomas, a former player in the FIBA 3×3 World Tour 2019. Joseph scored seven points, while Petit and Molthon each scored two.
While Haiti exited the tournament earlier than hoped, the coach said he expects the group to learn from this experience and perform better in the Caribbean Games next year.
“This group had no experience at the international level, excepts Antoine,” Salomon said. “They will learn from this tournament and with the proper preparation and more financial support we will have better results in the future.”