Cuba dominated Puerto Rico and secured seat for the World Final
HAVANA, Cuba, June 1, 2019. - Cuba dominated Puerto Rico 3-1
(21-25, 25-15, 25-15, 27-25) to secure gold in the Norceca
Challenger Men's Volleyball Tournament and the quota to the
World Final Qualifying to the League of Nations in Slovenia next
In the Sports City Coliseum there were emotional moments for the
combative actions of the opponents, although the superiority of
the hosts was evident mainly with a superb blocking, and
comfortable second and third sets.
Then they certified their level in the fourth when coming from
behind and closing the match against rivals who did not give up
their efforts until the last breath.
The local attacker Marlon Yang was the top scorer of the contest
with 19 points, followed by also corner player Osniel Mergarejo
(10), while left-handed Jesus Herrera and center Roamy Alonso
made effective contributions, each with 8 points.
For the Puerto Ricans again the top scorer was the corner
Pelegrín Vargas with 15, the only one with double digits of his
selection, while the central Pedro Nieves contributed 9, and the
other blocker Jonathan Rodríguez and the attacker Kevin López 8
The Cubans added 21 blocks against only 4 by Puerto Rico, and
12-6 difference in service, while in attacks they scored more
than the winners (45-26).
In the first set the Cubans, as is almost usual, entered too
confident. Although the service of the Cubans was not as
effective, on the contrary, the blockade, which worked very well
and limited the attack of their rivals mainly in the second and
Nicolás Vives, technical director of Cuba, assured that "I
always knew that the Puerto Ricans were going to resist us
because they are players who know how to play, who participate
in their leagues and we have to know how to face them. Our team
always relies a bit on the first time, but we won the next two
easy, and in the fourth we started down unnecessarily, for
situations in the game that they create because they relax.
However, we returned to our rhythm little by little we reached
them until we achieved victory."
"We thought to make more change so that others had the
opportunity to play, but the fourth time it got a little tense
against us, but José Massó and Miguel Ángel López fulfilled
their function when we sent him to the court," said the home
Roamy Alonso, a striker precisely in the defense of the net,
said that "we train a lot this position, is one of our main
weapons and serve, are well connected. We fought to stabilize
the service so that we were given the blockade, everything went
as expected, although we really expect this reaction from the
Puerto Ricans, they are opponents who always impose and do not
give anything, they go out to war like us, we are similar and
they always give a good game. "
Manuel Acevedo, DT of Puerto Rico, did not hesitate to say that
"I thought we could play face to face because in the game
against Mexico for Cuba it was very bad, he verified that he was
not in a good moment, both work for a peak, this It is a very
early stage of the season in which you have difficulties and the
locals that day made many mistakes."
"The first partial surprised me, we entered well, from the
beginning things were done that we had raised as the continuity
of the work of the opposite, which was not the case in the next
two, I made changes and in the fourth set the two of the bench
made the job. I think it was a very entertaining game and much
more competitive than perhaps people thought. That's good for
both teams and especially Cuba, which has a very difficult
tournament in Slovenia. "
Pelegrín Vargas, captain of Puerto Rico, said that "our team,
despite its youth, we have a lot of character, we do not give
anything, Cuba had to defeat us. There were two partials that
were a bit erratic and timid, but in the end we showed what we
are made of. Cuba is a great cast when it is ahead, it is very
difficult because they put a lot of pressure on the service and
it is difficult for us to attack. We are prepared for big
competitions with the bigger group, we had not had a test like
this and we showed that we can ".