Francisco Garcia has become an NBA afterthought ever since an unfortunate exercise ball injury in 2009, but the man was amazing on Friday night at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Garcia's Dominican Republic team pulled off an upset, sending FYR Macedonia home as Domincana moved within one game of an Olympic berth.
Garcia played in 49 games for the Sacramento Kings this past season, but none were as impressive as the 28 points he put up against Bo McCalebb and the rest of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Garcia made eight of his 14 shot attempts -- including 4-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc -- to help move the John Calipari-coached team in to the semifinals.
Aside from Garcia, fellow NBAer Al Horford scored 14 points and added 15 rebounds after a very slow first half while the inimitable Jack Michael Martinez scored 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds himself.
On the other side of the basketball was McCalebb, a naturalized citizen and a beloved player by all of those on the Internet. The point guard scored an impressive 35 points -- the highest thus far in the tournament -- but they all came in defeat. Only two other Macedonians were able to score in double-figures, however, in a game that featured sloppy play and foul trouble through the first 30 minutes of action.
The Dominican Republic team will now play the winner of Friday night's late game (featuring Puerto Rico and Lithuania) on Saturday afternoon for one of two automatic Olympic berths -- no championship game will be held. The semifinal winners will both receive an automatic bid to London 2012 while the two losers of Saturday afternoon's semifinals will play a third-place game on Sunday for the third and final bid to this year's Olympics.