Cuba Tops Puerto Rico in Pool B


Long Beach, California, May 7, 2012 Cuba handled Puerto Rico 25-20, 25-18, 25-18 to begin their NORCECA Men’s Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament on Monday at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. The winner of the eight-team tournament earns a spot into the 2012 Olympic Games volleyball competition.


Cuba’s Wilfredo Leon and Rolando Cepeda contributed 13 points in the victory, while Fernando Hernandez added 12 points. Puerto Rico was led by Juan Figueroa’s 11 points.


Cuba dominated the net with a 14-4 block advantage and limited its errors to 11.


Cuba returns to Pool B action on Tuesday against Dominican Republic at 13:00 Pacific Time, while Puerto Rico takes on Canada on Tuesday at 18:00 Pacific Time.


“We have a young team and at the beginning of the tournament they are a little nervous,” Cuba Coach Orlando Samuels Blackwood said. “Puerto Rico is missing some very important players. I think both teams could have played better tonight.”


“For us, it’s been a few rough months since we lost our starting opposite, our starting setter and I was injured just before we left,” Puerto Rico captain Victor Rivera said. “I thought we played the first 10 points well. Cuba is a very young team. We are older. They have a lot of energy.”