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Puerto Rico and Mexico to battle for bertth in Italy

Puerto Rican libero Gregory Berrios executes a reception

Caguas, Puerto Rico, July 10, 2009 - Puerto Rico and Mexico square off Friday night in the crucial match for the ticket to the Final Round of the 2010 FIVB Men’s World Championship to be held in Italy.

The two teams have 2-0 win-loss marks following their straight sets victories on Thursday before around 2,000 fans at Hector Sola Bezares Coliseum of Caguas.

Puerto Rico dominated Barbados 25-11, 25-11, 25-11 outscoring its rival 9-0 and 8-0 in blocks and serves respectively while Mexico scored a 25-19, 25-19, 25-15 victory over U.S. Virgin Islands.

Enrique Escalante topped Puerto Rico with 8 points and Luis Rodriguez and Victor Rivera each contributed seven points. Shawn Simpson of Barbados had a match-high 12 points.

Mexican Jose Luis Martell was the best scorer of his team with 12 points and Gustavo Meyer added 11 tallies. Gustavo Cintron led U.S. Virgin Islands with nine points.

"We improved our rhythm in comparison with the first match," said Ignacio Ramirez, the captain of Mexico. "But we still need to make some adjustments. I am hoping for a great match and a triumph against Puerto Rico to advance to the World Championship in Italy."

"They didn’t play as we anticipated but we are ready for tomorrow’s match," said Hector "Picky" Soto, the captain of Puerto Rico. "I think our team has reached another level and another mentality and we are not at their level- Our goal in this cycle is to achieve the qualification to all the events."

The loser of Friday’s final match will advance to a play-off round on August 26-31. Meanwhile, the winner of the contest between U.S. Virgin Islands and Barbados could keep alive its option of moving to the play-off as the best third place team of this stage of the Norceca’s qualification process.

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