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Puerto Rico outlast USA at Men’s Pan Am Cup

Puerto Rico's Ezequiel Cruz (10) leads the celebration after topping the victory over USA with 24 points
Mexico City, Mexico, August 22, 2013 - Puerto Rico played relentless volleyball in outlasting United States in a thrilling tiebreak match 3-2 (16-25, 25-16, 26-28, 27-25, 17-15) in the quarterfinals of the Men’s Pan American Cup on Thursday.

In the other quarterfinal, Argentina defeated Dominican Republic in straight sets 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-22).

Friday’s semifinals have Puerto Rico playing against Brazil while Argentina meet hosts Mexico.

Ezequiel Cruz topped five Puerto Rican players who scored in double digits with 24 points. Mannix Roman followed with 17 points while Roberto Muñiz, Sequiel Sánchez and Jean Carlos Ortiz chipped in with 14, 13 and 12 respectively.

Taylor Sander led United States with 21 points, William Price added 19, and Daniel McDonnell had 10 points for the defeated side.

“We have been growing steadily from the bottom,” said David Aleman about his team. “We knew that if we could win one match we could reach the semifinals and fortunately did so. We have been together just seven months before this tournament and have grown up as a team”.

“Congratulations to Puerto Rico, they really controlled the game in the middle. We had some chances to win, but they defended and play very well,” said American coach Shawn Patchell.

Javier Vega was the top scorer for the Argentinean side with 10 points, Agustin Ramonda, Ezequiel Palacios and Federico Franetovich registered 7 apiece.

For the Dominican Team, Elvis Contreras finished with 14 and Henry Omar Tapia registered 12. 

“We are happy to qualify to the semifinals,” Argentina’s coach Alejandro Grossi remarked. “I think we had a great match and worked to control (Jose) Caceres and (Elvis) Contreras.”

“Our guys were not able to play their game. Anxiety and lack of experience led us to this result, we also failed in our service,” Dominican Republic coach Osiel Vazquez said.

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