Mexico wins nail-biting match over Puerto Rico

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, July 12, 2021 – Mexico won a thrilling five-setter 3-2 (34-32, 19-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-13) over Puerto Rico to open the actions at the U23 Men’s Pan American Cup in Santo Domingo on Monday.

The tournament is a qualifier to the Junior Pan American Games to be held in Cali, Colombia from November 25 to December 5.

Diego Gonzalez scored 18 points to lead three Mexican players who finished the match with double figures. Luis Hernández and Yasutaka Sanay added 11 and 10 in the victory while Jorge Hernandez and Josue Lopez each contributed 9 points.

Puerto Rican Pedro Molina registered a match-high 28 points, including four blocks and three aces, as the main scoring weapon for the defeated side. Jamal Ellis and Antonio Elias each had 12 points.

In a match of 2 hours and 41 minutes, Mexico held the advantage in service winners 7-5 but Puerto Rico dominated the defense at the net 15-10. The winners made 48 unforced errors to 46 by the losers.

Axel Tellez, captain of Mexico: “It was a very close match as we were stretched to five sets and our bench responded very well.”

Jorge Azair, coach of Mexico: “It was a very long match that lasted almost three hours. Our bench players did everything we asked and our rotation of players helped us at the end.”

Pedro Molina, captain of Puerto Rico: “It was our first match here with a team pretty young. I think we did a good job and hope we can continue improving the rest of the event.”

Gerardo de Jesus, coach of Puerto Rico: “First match we play after this pandemic. It was extended to five sets and the players were exhausted. I hope this match serves as preparation for our next commitments.”