Puerto Rico trims spirited Curacao in Opener
Colorado Springs, USA, August 27, 2012 - Puerto Rico
started the 2012 NORCECA Men’s Junior Continental Championship
with a 27-25, 25-13, 25-23 victory over a spirited Curacao on
Monday afternoon at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado
Puerto Rico captain Cristian Rivera paced his squad with 12
points, while Giovanni Llinas chipped in 10 points. Pedro
Fernandez added nine points. Luis Beltran tallied 16 of his
team’s 40 digs.
Curacao received balanced scoring with Quinten Anthony scoring
11 points and Derrick Alexandre adding nine points.
Puerto Rico saved two set points in the opening set to win
27-25. Puerto Rico gained steam midway through the second set to
claim a 25-13 victory to go up 2-0. Curacao rallied from a
four-point deficit in the third set to take a 17-16 advantage,
but Puerto Rico bounced back with five unanswered points for a
21-17 lead. Puerto Rico held on for a 25-23 victory after
Curacao closed to 23-22.
Puerto Rico held slim advantages of 37-25 in attack points, 12-9
in blocks and 2-0 in aces, but took advantage of 26 Curacao
errors to its own 17 errors.
Puerto Rico resumes Pool B action on Tuesday against Guatemala
at 15:00, while Curacao looks to get in the win column versus
Canada at 11:00.
“First congratulations to Curacao for a well-played match,”
Puerto Rico head coach Ramon Hernandez said. “I’m happy for the
victory, but we have to get better as the tournament goes along.
Against the tougher teams we have to have fewer mistakes.”
“I think we are happy with the result,” Rivera said. “We need to
work on minimizing our errors. Curacao has upped their level
than in the past and we had some troubles with them today.”
“We played good today against Puerto Rico,” Curacao captain
Raynold Marchena said. “The level of the Curacao team was high
today. The goal now is to not lose again in pool play, and if
that is possible we can classify higher.”
“This is our first time at NORCECA,” Curacao head coach Paulina
Gilbert said. “Puerto Rico is a good team. My team can play at a
better level as this was the guys’ first game. Now we can play
better for a higher classification.”