SAN JUAN (FIBA Americas Championship) - Anderson Varejão and Brazil are celebrating a gold-medal triumph after beating hosts Puerto Rico in the FIBA Americas Championship title game on Sunday.
Beaten by Puerto Rico earlier in the competition, Brazil hit back with a vengeance and led by as many as 16 points but ended up scraping a 61-60 win on Sunday with more than 10,000 fans looking on in San Juan.
Carlos Arroyo had a chance to win the contest at the buzzer for Puerto Rico but his three-pointer from the right corner was off target.
"It was difficult, but we were able to win and to be champions is always very nice," Anderson said.
"I believe that this title is the first of a series that this generation will win."
Brazil, Puerto Rico, bronze-medal winners Argentina and Canada all qualified for the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.
FIBA Americas giants Team USA will also be at next year's big event after qualifying as last year's Olympic champions.
Before thinking about Turkey, the Brazilians want to savor their victory over Puerto Rico.
"We knew the final would be a very difficult game," Brazil guard Leandro Barbosa said after pouring in a game-high 24 points.
"Therefore, even when we built a good advantage, the game wasn't won.
"In the final minute, we possessed enough calm to withstand the pressure and win the first of many titles for this new team."
Brazil center Tiago Splitter was extremely happy.
"We managed to overcome the home team and a crowd of 10,000," he said.
"Let's celebrate because we deserve it and we share this achievement with the Brazilian fans."