Fiba World Cup: Ismael Romero praises Carlik Jones’ grit after tough showdown
MANILA, Philippines—Puerto Rico and South Sudan went to war in Group B of the 2023 Fiba World Cup on Saturday with two warriors on both ends rising to the occasion.
Puerto Rican Ismael Romero muscled his way to a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds while also being instrumental in the squad’s comeback effort in regulation of their 101-96 win.
“I’m so happy. I worked so hard to be here in this situation. I try my best for my team whether it’s to get rebounds, screens, dive to the floor, whatever it takes,” he said after a grueling overtime affair with South Sudan.
Romero missed the potential game-winning free throws with 0.3 ticks to go in the fourth quarter but Puerto Rico wouldn’t be able to rise from a 72-65 deficit without his hustle plays and crucial baskets in the clutch.
He, however, wasn’t the only star that shone during the neck-and-neck showdown.
Carlik Jones of South Sudan poured in a gargantuan effort with a double-double himself to the tune of 35 markers and 11 assists, but it wasn’t enough to pull the Sudanese out of trouble.
His tremendous outing, however, caught the attention of Romero when the horn signaled the end of the game.
“He’s an amazing player, he gives everything for the country too, so lots of respect to him,” said the bruiser. “A player like that? You got to respect [him].”
Jones, however, admitted that he wasn’t satisfied with his outing, despite being the game’s top scorer.
“I’m used to it (scoring). My biggest thing is the win. Points, rebounds, all of those doesn’t matter if you don’t get the win,” the shifty guard said.
“My main focus is on winning so as a leader I got to be on those guys more. I take part in the losses too because I feel like I need to be a better leader.”