Don’t cry for me, Argentine puppy

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina — As fate would have it (or dumb luck in this case) the hotel I booked for the FIBA Americas pre-Olympic tournament turned  out to be the same hotel that houses the Argentine national team.

This has been a boon for a reporter unaccustomed to dealing with FIBA’s exgremely limited media access. I have bumped into Luis Scola and had a nice conversation with the player most Spurs fans refer as “the one who got away.” I met the team manager in the cafe for desayuno on Wednesday and was able to arrange some interviews for next week in the hotel.

Thursday night, however, a large convention of veterinarians moved into  the hotel for a two-day conference, some of them with animals in tow. So it was not a great surprise this morning when I was awakened around 5 a.m. by what sounded like a puppy, crying in a nearby room. The crying was intermittent, but it lasted for nearly an hour, and grew in intensity until the yelps sounded more like a coyoute’s howls.

Team Argentina has a big match tonight against Puerto Rico, and my first thought was how angry Argentine coach Julio Lamas must have been if he, too, was awakened by the distressed puppy that likely served as the wake-up call for the players, as well.

My next thought: WWPD? What Would Pop Do?

I’m not suggesting Spurs coach Gregg Popovich ever would kick a crying puppy. I’m sure he loves puppies and kittens and dogs and cats.

I am suggesting a hotel manager might have gotten the full referee treatment from a red-faced Coach Pop.

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