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2009 FIVB Men's Grand Champions Cup
Osaka - Nagoya, Japan
18 - 23 November 2009

 Press Release
Cuba wins NORCECA gold and ticket to Japan

Cuban players celebrate their 14th Norceca title and the ticket to Japan

Bayamon, Puerto Rico, October 17, 2009 – Cuba defeated the United States 25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 25-22 claiming the gold medal of the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship and the last remaining ticket to the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup in Japan next month.

The victory was Cuba's 14th NORCECA title in the 21-year history of the regional competition and they now join hosts Japan, Brazil, Poland, Iran and Egypt in the men’s international event to be held in Osaka and Nagoya, Japan from November 18-23.

NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship hosts Puerto Rico won the bronze medal in a five-set marathon with Canada that finished 25-16, 24-26, 25-20, 22-25, 15-9 in their favour.

Wilfredo Leon, elected the tournament's MVP, led Cuba with 24 points and Michael Sanchez added 19. Roberlandy Simon and Michael Sanchez contributed 11 and 10 respectively. Evan Patak was the best American scorer with 14 points. Reid Priddy and Sean Rooney charted 12 apiece and Andrew Hein compiled 10.

“The key for the victory was the consistency,” said Orlando Samuels. “It is very pleasing for us to claim a victory against a team like the United States which has a great tradition in Volleyball.”

“Brazil is considered the big favorite in the Grand Champions Cup but we will be prepared to give a battle,” said Simon, the Cuba captain. “We are going to give our best effort in Japan.”

Enrique Escalante topped five Puerto Ricans scoring in double figures with a match-high 21 points including four aces and two blocks. Luis Rodriguez and Victor Rivera each contributed 19 points while Hector Soto and Jose Rivera charted 18 and 11 points respectively. Stephen Gotch and Louis-Pierre Mainville led Canada with 18 points apiece and Joel Schmuland tallied 17.

In other matches:

Mexico erased a 2-1 deficit to edge Dominican Republic in the match for fifth position 25-19, 18-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-13.

The Mexicans, who also prevailed in five sets against the Dominicans in Guadalajara last August in a match for the ticket to the FIVB World Championship, were helped by the 31 point haul of Leonardo Manzo. Richard Lazcano and Edgar Herrera added 16 and 15 respectively.

Jose Caceres, the leading scorer of the competition, had a match-high 37 points for the Dominican Republic. Victor Batista and Johan Lopez added 14 and 10 respectively.

Earlier, Barbados defeated Panama 20-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-15 to claim seventh spot. 

Elwyn Oxley led Barbados with 21 points including four blocks and Fabian Cox added 18 all on offence. Damien Danzell contributed 13 points to the winning effort including seven blocks and two aces. Domingo Avila and Donaldo Ureña recorded 14 points apiece for Panama and Ricardo Brown tallied 11.

Individual awards:

MVP: Wilfredo Leon (CUB)
Best Scorer: Jose Caceres (DOM)
Best Spiker: Wilfredo Leon (CUB)
Best Blocker: Roberlandy Simon (CUB)
Best Server: Evan Patak (USA)
Best Setter: Raydel Hierrezuelo (CUB)
Best Digger: Gregory Berrios (PUR)
Best Receiver: Gregory Berrios (PUR)
Best Libero: Gregory Berrios (PUR)
Rising Star: Wilfredo Leon (CUB)
Jim Coleman Award: Orlando Samuels (CUB)*

* The Jim Coleman Award was created to honour the memory of the American coach who invented the Antennas used now at the net. The Award is presented to the most outstanding coach in the Norceca Men's Championship.
Final positions:
1. Cuba
2. United States
3. Puerto Rico
4. Canada
5. Mexico
6. Dominican Republic
7. Barbados
8. Panama

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