Puerto Rico reaches semifinals and qualifies to Pan Am Games

CORDOBA, México, 31 de agosto de 2018.- Puerto Rico reached the Men’s Pan American Cup semifinals and qualified to the Pan American Games defeating hosts Mexico 3-1 (25-20, 25-16, 18-25, 25-22) at the Arena Cordoba in Mexico.

Puerto Rico needed almost two hours (1:53) to subdue the host in a heated match to reach the semifinals of the competition, in addition to the feat of qualifying to the 2019 Lima Pan American Games along with Brazil, Argentina and Cuba.

The winners of the recent Barranquilla Central American Games will face Brazil in the semifinal match on Saturday, while Mexico will play Canada on Sunday in a crucial match for the last ticket to Lima.

Puerto Rico held advantage of 58-50 in attacks and Mexico led with a Slim 8-7 the blocking category; both scored two points on aces. Puerto Rico allowed 23 points in errors and Mexico 26 points.

Opposite player Maurice Torres scored impressive 28 points, leading Puerto Rico’s scoring machine, on 23 kills, 4 blocks and one ace. Wing spiker Sequiel Sanchez and opposite Ezquiel Cruz tallied 15 and 10 points respectively.

Mexico’s top scorers were opposite players Nestor Orellana with 19 points and Daniel Vargas scored 11 points.

Leading scorer Maurice Torres said he felt great “playing against a great team like Mexico on their home court isn’t easy and we showed true character today to be able to withstand them. We needed to qualify for Lima and now we must focus on winning a medal”. About losing the third set, he added “they played better, we didn’t handle it well and we decided to keep pushing point by point in the fourth to applaud a victory”.

Oswald Antonetti head coach of Puerto Rico said they have a clear objective “technically and tactically we have everything well planned, something we’ve been working well and injecting stability. Our culture and identity define our way of performing. Mexico was well prepared, but we were able to keep emotional intelligence to finish on top, something I thought could have slip from our hands. We will face Brazil with passion and look to win a medal”.