<
>

NYers star for Dominican Republic at MSG

The Dominican National team was manhandled at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday and lost by 43 points.

It was the type of loss that leaves a team demoralized. But New York City guard Edgar Sosa could be excused for cracking a smile after the game.

After all, Sosa has endured two potential career-ending injuries over the past three years. So it was something short of a miracle that he was even on the floor, let alone representing the Dominican Republic and playing against some of the best players on the planet.

"Many people thought I wasn't going to play basketball in 2011," said Sosa, who suffered a gruesome leg fracture during a game with the Dominican team that year. "Now to be here to be playing against the best in the world is something I can't thank God enough for."

Sosa, who finished with 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting, estimated there were 200 people from his neighborhood in the Bronx and from New York City at large in the stands rooting for him.

Fans of the Dominican team made their presence felt with jerseys, signs and boisterous cheers after every DR basket.

Sosa wasn't the only New York City product for whom they were cheering.

The team is coached by Orlando Antigua, who was raised in the Bronx. James Feldeine, who shared the backcourt with Sosa, is from the Bronx. And NBA guard Francisco Garcia also grew up in the Bronx.

"It's great to represent your country with these guys," Sosa said.

Sosa is probably the player most closely associated with New York City. He was a star at Rice High School in Harlem as a prep player and was known as the one of the top players in New York City and one of the top guards in the country.

Incidentally, he played in front of Kemba Walker at Rice. Walker was on the sideline Wednesday night to watch Sosa play.

"That's one of my best friends," Sosa said. "It's been great to see him."

Sosa said he's had a chance to visit with Walker and others over the past few days, while the team was in town. But now he and the rest of the Dominican boys from New York City will turn their attention to Spain and the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

"I didn't play too well, but it's a blessing to be out there," Sosa said. "Now I just have to get better for next game, get ready for Spain."