Colombia beats Puerto Rico to face Brazil in semifinals

CALI, Colombia, November 28, 2021. - Colombia beat Puerto Rico 3-2 (20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 22-25, 15-7) to face Brazil in semifinals at the Men’s volleyball tournament of the I Junior Pan American Games Cali-Valle 2021 at Evangelista Mora Coliseum.


Colombia bounced back from losing the first set with a dominant display in attacks in a neck to neck battle that finished in a tie-break win for the final spot in the semifinal round.


The host Colombia finished second in pool A with 2-1 record and Puerto Rico third to play for fifth place against Dominican Republic.


Colombia held a slim 61-60 advantage in attacks, 11-10 margin in blocks, 6-4 in serves and committed one less error (28-29) than Puerto Rico.


Colombian outside hitters Leiner Aponza and Carlos Llanos scored 25 and 24 points respectively; opposite hitter Miguel Angel Martínez added 16 points. Outside hitter and captain Pedro Molina led Puerto Rico with 20 points, outside hitter Diego Negron added 19 points, middle blocker Jamal Ellis registered 15 points including the most blocks with 7 points and middle blocker Antonio Elias contributed with 11 points.


Leiner Aponza, top scorer of Colombia: “It was a fierce win; we fought well to achieve it. Our team had little time together to prepare and reaching the semifinals proves what we are capable for men’s volleyball in Colombia. We lose focus when are celebrations aren´t euphoric and we have our heads down”.


Diego Negron, outside hitter of Puerto Rico: “It was a balanced match, it was decided in two or three point well played by Colombia and from our side we lacked effort in those points. It was a great battle and I am proud of my team”.