Carlos Arroyo can’t hold back tears after guiding Puerto Rico to first Olympics berth in 20 years

Carlos Arroyo can’t hold back tears after guiding Puerto Rico to first Olympics berth in 20 years

Carlos Arroyo knows a thing or two about miracles. After all, he was the diminutive dynamo who led Puerto Rico to one of the greatest upsets in Olympic basketball history back in 2004, when they stunned Team USA. Fast forward 20 years, and Arroyo, now the general manager of Puerto Rico’s basketball team, was brought to tears as he witnessed his beloved homeland punch its ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In a raucous Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico defeated Lithuania 79-68 in the championship game of the Olympic qualifying tournament. It was a victory that ended a two-decade-long Olympic drought for Puerto Rico basketball, a triumph that meant the world to a nation starved for basketball glory.

The hero of the night? None other than New Orleans Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado. The 6-foot dynamo poured in 23 points on a scorching 9-of-14 shooting, grabbed 6 rebounds, swiped 2 steals, and nailed 4 threes. His electrifying performance was the spark Puerto Rico needed, lighting up the scoreboard and the hearts of fans everywhere.

And when the final buzzer sounded, Arroyo, the man who had seen it all, rushed to the court to share an emotional embrace with Alvarado. It was a passing of the torch, a recognition that the next generation had arrived. Arroyo, who had taken the helm as Puerto Rico’s general manager in 2021, was seeing his hard work pay off in the most spectacular fashion.

Arroyo’s emotional journey and Alvarado’s rise

For Arroyo, this was more than just a win. It was the culmination of a journey that began in the dusty courts of Fajardo and led to a nine-season NBA career as a journeyman guard. He played for seven different teams, averaging a modest 6.6 points and 3.1 assists per game. Yet, his legacy was cemented not by his NBA stats but by his tenacity and leadership on the international stage.

Now, Arroyo sees a bit of himself in Alvarado. The same relentless energy, the fearless drive to take on the best, and the unyielding pride in wearing the Puerto Rican jersey. Alvarado, with his quick hands and quicker feet, embodies the spirit of a new generation ready to make their mark on the Olympic stage.

Carlos Arroyo, eyes glistening with tears of joy, looked on with pride. He knew the journey was far from over, but for now, he allowed himself to savor this sweet victory. Paris awaits, and with it, a chance for Puerto Rico to once again show the world the true meaning of corazn.

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