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Garcia Leads Dominicans to Centrobasket Bronze Medal Game

The Dominican Republic, led by Francisco Garcia and Al Horford, has made it to the bronze medal game in the Centrobasket tournament. The Dominican, with its highest finish ever in Centrobasket, has qualified for next summer's Tournament of the Americas.

The Dominican will be a long shot to qualify for the 2010 Worlds in Istanbul, but there's a chance. The United States has already qualified for Worlds, so it seems unlikely they'll put a team of elites out on the floor next year in the Tournament of the Americas. (A B-team is still usually tough, though.) Several South American nations will be ready to go, as well as Central/Caribbean teams like Puerto Rico (who beat the DR in the semis today).

The best news for the Dominican's hopes to make Worlds: 24 teams will qualify for Istanbul. The top four in the Tournament will qualify, then; if the United States is among the top 4, then #5 will be invited. Istanbul is also allowed four wild-card bids, one of which I assume will be handed to Britain in preparation for the London Olympics. With two NBA players (one of which, Horford, will be a star), the Dominican could make an attractive addition.

Of course, there has been talk Horford could be asked to get his American passport and join Team USA, in which case the Dominican's advancements would be for naught.