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Venezuelan Astros root for NBA countryman

Venezuelan Astros root for NBA countryman play video for Venezuelan Astros root for NBA countryman

OAKLAND -- Astros teammates and Venezuela natives Marwin Gonzalez, Jose Altuve and Jesus Guzman were focused on watching Saturday's NBA playoff game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Toronto Raptors while in the clubhouse Saturday morning.

The three aren't huge NBA fans, but the game featured the lone Venezuelan player in the NBA -- Greivis Vasquez of the Raptors.

"We met like four years ago when I was playing winter ball and he was watching my team in Venezuela, Caracas," Gonzalez said. "Since then, we've talked and had a relationship."

When the Astros were in Toronto earlier this month, several of the team's Venezuelan players met Vasquez at the team's hotel and stayed up until 4 a.m. talking about life and sports.

"I support every single person from my country, whatever he's doing here," Altuve said. "He's doing a really good job with the Toronto Raptors, and I wish him the best of luck."

Gonzalez said Vasquez has a huge following in Venezuela because he's the lone NBA player from the country.

"Everybody in Venezuela roots for him and is paying attention to what he does and how he does every day," Gonzalez said. "If you think about it, MLB players, we have like 70 maybe [from Venezuela]. He's the only one [in the NBA]. Everyone's watching."

Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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