When the Raptors drafted Bruno Caboclo No. 20 in 2014, ESPN commentator Fran Fraschilla famously called the forward “two years away from being two years away.”
Three years later, Caboclo got kicked off the Brazilian national team for twice refusing to enter a game.
Five years later, he made the game-clinching play in Brazil’s 79-78 FIBA World Cup win over Greece on Tuesday.
Maybe something clicked around that fourth year.
Taking advantage of far looser international goaltending rules, Caboclo knocked the would-be game-tying free throw off the rim. The heads-up deflection sends Brazil to the second round and capped a wild game.
Greece led by 15 in the first half, and Brazil led by seven in the final four minutes. The teams were tied when Brazil’s Anderson Varejao, who scored a game-high 22 points, made the final basket with 14 seconds left. Brazil added a free throw to take a three-point lead with two seconds left.
Attempting to foul and prevent a 3-point attempt, Brazil’s Didi Louzada committed a shooting foul on Greece’s Kostas Sloukas in the backcourt. Sloukas made his first two free throws then had a chance of the third falling until Caboclo swatted it away.
The Greece-New Zealand winner Thursday will also advance to the second round.