Argentina claims Pan American Cup for the first time after 3-1
win over Puerto Rico
Gatineau, Canada, July 30.- Argentina became the fifth country
in the history of the Men’s Pan American Cup to win the title
after a hard-fought 3-1 win (25-23, 25-18, 23-25 and 25-20) over
Puerto Rico after two hours of play at Gatineau’s Robert Guertin
Led by Julio Velasco, selected by FIVB as the world’s best coach
of the 20th century, Argentina played a perfect the
tournament losing one set in five matches. In its third
consecutive final, the South American country finally claimed
gold at this continental event for the first time.
The two teams who opened the tournament six days earlier-
Argentina won 3-0- displayed a top-class volleyball that led
them to the gold medal match. Led by Maurice Torres and Pablo
Guzman, Puerto Rico led by one point at both technical timeouts.
The set remained even at 21, but after a net violation,
Argentina’s block shot down their rivals to move 24-21 ahead.
The Caribbean side managed to close the gap, but left-handed
opposite Santiago Darraidou closed the win for the South
Americans with a strong spike from the left angle.
The Puerto Ricans kept the pressure in the second et with Torres
and Sequiel Sanchez leading the attack. Mannix Roman scored an
ace and Setter Edgardo Goas blocked the Argentinean attack to
put them 8-6 in front. The set stay at 10 points for each team
and from then on Argentina broke away. Diversifying the attack
among Nicolas Bruno, Sebastian Solé and Bruno Lima, setter
Luciano De Cecco added an ace and joined Solé in the block to
contain their inspired opponents en route to a 25-18 win.
Puerto Rico took the initiative in the third set leading 4-1.
Argentina fought back and tied at seven, before Maurice Torres’
spike put Puerto Rico back on top 8-7 at the technical timeout.
Torres kept hammering the ball as the Islanders increased their
lead to 20-14. Argentina fought back with Cristian Poglajen and
Martin Ramos leading their efforts, but Puerto Rico held them
off to win 25-23 in the first set lost by Argentina at the
The South Americans came back on fire, taking an early 4-0 lead
and held it to 8-4 at the first technical timeout. Pablo Guzman
kept Puerto Rico in contention but their best man Maurice Torres
was not playing at his top form. With Luciano De Cecco setting
the attack in all areas of the net, Pablo Crer, Poglajen, Martin
Ramos and Nicolas Bruno were again efficient hitting the ball to
increase the lead Puerto Rico never gave up, but lend-handed
opposite Santiago Darraidou close the fourth set as he did in
the first one to bring his historic gold to Argentina.
Martin Ramos led the winners’ offensive with 13 points.
Nicolas Bruno, Sebastian Solé (11) and Pablo Crer (10) also
scored double digits.
Maurice Torres was Puerto Rico’s top scorer with 22 points and
Pablo Guzman contributed with 12.
Nicolas Bruno, wing spiker of Argentina: "As we saw on the court
and as results show, we played a good tournament. We only lost
one set in the final. We came here to win and improve on some
aspects in preparation for the American Championships starting
in a few days.
This is a great boost.
Luciano (Gecco) is the best setter of the tournament. This team
has played together for a while, including the World League and
this is reflected on the court.
It makes a difference.”
Julio Velasco: "I am happy.
We lost a set. The team was tired.
Puerto Rico was very motivated and more aggresive. We had to get
back into the game progressively. We needed to play games before
the South American Championships. I would have liked to play
Cuba, another good team with a different style, but overall it
was a great experience. I am happy with how our block-defense
system did, the ability to play youngsters like Bruno Lima and
how Martin Ramos played as opposite. This is the base team for
the South American Championships”.
Ramón Hernández, coach of Puerto Rico: “I am really happy with
our performance throughout the tournament. We improved as a team
and we played better with every single match. I am really
pleased – this is only our third medal ever in the Pan Am Cup
and this is our first tournament of the year. So to be able to
have a silver medal performance; I am excited about the future
of this team. We have to recover from this tournament and
prepare for the NORCECA Championship in the US.”