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Dominican Republic advances to next round in Men’s Pan American Cup

GATINEAU, Canada, July 27, 2017 -Dominican Republic advanced to next round in Men’s Pan American Cup after a 3-1 (25-23, 17-25, 25-17 and 25-18) win over Mexico in over one hour and a half at Gatineau’s Robert Guertin Arena in Canada’s national capital region.

Awaiting their final placing after the Cuba-USA match, the Caribbean squad has shown it can be a competitive side and is looking for a place on the podium at this continental event for the first time in five years.

Both teams started out evenly matched in the opening set, with the Dominican Republic taking the first set 25-23, before Mexico took advantage of their rivals’ mistakes in the second to even the match after a 25-17 partial win.

The Dominican Republic regained their best level. With its three key players Elvis Contrera, captain Wilfrido Hernandez and opposite Pedro Garcia, they held off the Mexican challenge to take the subsequent two sets and the victory.

Garcia, who sealed the win with a strong serve, led the Caribbeans’ attack with 21 points. He was supported by Contrera (16) and Hernandez (15). Ridl Garay and Gonzalo Ruiz each contributed 11 to Mexico.

Orlando Samuel Blackwood, coach of the Dominican Republic:  “In the second set we didn’t play well at all – I really didn’t like how my players were communicating with each other.  But in the end, they came back and managed to play well a certain times in the match.  I’m happy for the win today.”

Jorge Azair, coach of Mexico:  “Dominican Republic is a classic game within NORCECA. The game was really intense. My players played better than yesterday, but I’m still disappointed we don’t advance to the next round. We need to work on our blocks and services essentially to qualify for World Championships. Half of the team is pretty young so it’ll be a long process. This tournament is a great experience for them.