San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 28, 2011 – Two-time defending champions Brazil scored their second victory in Pool A of the 2011 FIVB World League with a 3-0 (25-19, 31-29, 25-23) victory over a resilient Puerto Rico in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan on Saturday.
Joao Bravo was the best scorer of the South American side with 15 points – including three blocks and two aces – while Theo Fabricio and Sidnei Dos Santos each recorded 11 points. Puerto Rican Hector Soto totaled 18 points and Jose Rivera charted 11 for the defeated side.
Brazil had the advantage at the net (8-4) in the blocking category and made 22 errors, six fewer than Puerto Rico.
Brazil jumped to an 8-4 lead at the first technical time-out of the opening set thanks to the offensive exploits of Theo Fabricio combined with the shaky reception of Puerto Rico. The local side narrowed the distance to 13-10 following a block by Jose Rivera to finish a long and exciting rally. Fabricio and Soto traded strong spikes and Brazil was in front 16-11 when Jose Rivera served too long. Puerto Rico cut the lead to three points (18-15) when Giba netted a spike attempt, but Dos Santos responded with a tip over the Puerto Rican wall. At 23-19, Bravo and Giba hammered consecutive spikes for the Brazilian victory despite the efforts of Rivera, who led all scorers with six points.
The first technical time-out of the second set found the defending champions in front 8-7 after a flashing spike by Bravo. The same player parlayed spikes with Giba for a 10-8 Brazilian advantage. Bravo served an ace and Soto answered with a laser shot to maintain the distance. A block by Victor Rivera cut the distance to one point but Soto served long. Jose Rivera produced a spike and Puerto Rico tied at 14-14 following a Brazil mistake. Dos Santos and Soto traded kills and Brazil led 16-15 after a Puerto Rican error at the net. When Victor Rivera hit a bomb for a 17-16 local lead, Rezende called a time-out. The action resumed with Giba’s spike to equalize the scores at 17. Both teams then engaged in a seesaw battle with the Brazilians claiming the set 31-29 on their fifth opportunity after a spike and block by Dos Santos. Puerto Rican missed two chances of clinching the set.
Brazil erased a three-point deficit to take the lead 8-7 in the third set with Gustavo capping a four-point rally with a block and spike. The world champions increased the lead to 16-14 relying on the powerful offense of Fabricio while Victor Rivera kept Puerto Rico within distance with his attack and defense at the net. Dos Santos served an ace for a three-point lead (19-16) to calm the local crowd, which roared after two missile shots by Soto. It was Soto with two consecutive spikes who tied up the score at 20-all in a late Puerto Rican reply. Bravo broke the tie but then crashed his serve into the net. At 23-23, Soto’s serve was long and the spike of Figueroa was too wide handing the set 25-23 to the defending champions.