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Mexico swept and push Cuba against the wall


PINAR DEL RÍO, Cuba, November 11, 2017 - Mexico led an aggressive and consistent game to beat Cuba in straight sets 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-23), so the winners of of the last two tickets awarded by this NORCECA Group B Qualifying Tournament for the 2018 World Championship will be defined on Sunday.


The visitors controlled the powerful service of the home team, and bothered all the time with theirs, thus destabilizing the reception of the Cuban team, who could not maintain a stable rhythm in their attack.


Daniel Vargas was the top scorer of the game with 20 points, the only one from Mexico with double digits, since Jorge Barajas had 9, while Cuba's Miguel David Gutiérrez (11) and Miguel A. López (10) were the most productive from the losers.


Jorge Miguel Azair, coach of Mexico, declared that "now I can say that my boys who play abroad when they arrived late killed us yesterday in front of Puerto Rico, today they were better rested and adapted."


"We knew that Cuba is a very difficult team, but we never lost faith, now I do not want to think about tomorrow, only that my team plays, wins and then whatever happens".


Captain Pedro Rangel declared that "we were not defeated and went on with the attitude that we were going to face a team with a lot of level, which has always killed us with their blockade.  We grew as a team, we risked everything and it paid off."


The local coach, Nicolás Vives, acknowledged that his team did not play well, "there was a lot of desperation, tactically we did not know how to do it in the key moments and we lost, but tomorrow we will go out and give everything in the field to qualify, that is our main objective"


Liván Osoria, the central Cuban captain, congratulated his rivals "for their tremendous performance, we had many mistakes, we were confident and we were very hurried. This teaches us once again that we have to go for the win, nobody gives up a game, but we are focused to go for the sweep tomorrow, our only option".


On Sunday, Cuba is forced to beat Puerto Rico in three sets in to create a three-way tie, because Mexico is favorite against Guatemala, which will force to go, according to the rules of the tournament, decide by points won according to sets won and lost, then points quotient and sets quotient.