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Hosts Turkey and Cuba claim final tickets at World League group 3

Turkish team celebrating the victory against Slovakia in group 3 World League final

 Bursa, Turkey, June 28, 2014- Hosts Turkey entertained their home spectators with a straight sets victory (25-22, 25-21, 26-24) over struggling Slovakia in the semifinal of the 2014 World League Group 3 at Bursa Cengiz Gollu Volleyball Hall on Saturday. Cuba fought for 132 minutes to claim the other final spot after a grueling five setter match against China 3-2 (27-25, 22-25, 32-34, 25-22, 15-13).

 The semifinal thrilling day showed a hard fought throughout the two matches and featured the highest scoring performance in the whole World League matches so far when China's opposite Yuan Zhi led the defeated side with impressive 37 points.

Now Turkey meet Cuba in the final match on Sunday, while Slovakia face China for the third position.

Cuba beat China 3-2 (27-25, 22-25, 32-34, 25-22, 15-13)

 World No 7 Cuba opened the 2014 World League finals Group 3 on the right foot with a thrilling 3-2 (27-25, 22-25, 32-34, 25-22, 15-13) win over No 18 China in the first semifinal emcounter. This is the seventh victory for Cubans against the Asian side in 10 matches.

Despite committing plenty errors during the whole match, the superiority of Cuba in the areas of serve and quick attacking gave the victory to the Norceca side after 132 minutes.

Ernesto Jimenez paced the winners with 25 points, including one ace and two blocks, while team captain Rolando Cepeda and Santiago Uriarte contributed 24 and 21 respectively. China's opposite Yuan Zhi led the defeated side with 37 points making the best scoring performance in the World League so far.

"Tomorrow will be even harder than today," Cuba captain Rolando Cepeda said after the match. "I congratulate China team for their fighting spirit today. They also played very well. It was a very hard match."

Turkey beat Slovakia 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 26-24)

Turkey electrified their hometown crowd with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 26-24) win against Slovakia in the second semifinal game.

 Turkey surprised their opponents from the start of the match with their skillful combinations beside the spike services and due to the great support from the home crowd they could come back twice when they were behind in the second and third sets.

 Behind the victory was the domination of the hosts in areas of blocking and serving as Turkey was better in the first skill with 6-3 lead and the second with 8-3 ace advantage. 

 Metin Toy topped the scorers with 20 points for Turkey, while Lubos Kostolani was the best scorer for Slovakia with 17 points.

"We gave a good present to spectators in Bursa and Turkish Volleyball Federation," Turkey coach Emanuele Zanini said in the press conference.

 "We are satisfied and happy after this win. Tomorrow we will play against a great team Cuba. There is always a challenge and a revenge in sports. We challenged and got our revenge today because we lost Slovakia 3-2 last year.

FIVB World League 2014 Performances

Top Scoring Performances
37 – Yuan Zhi of China v Cuba (June 28)
25 – Ernesto Jimenez of Cuba v China (June 28)
20 – Metin Toy of Turkey v Slovakia (June 28)

Top Blocking Performances
3 – Santiago Uriarte of Cuba v China (June 28)

Top Blocking Performances by Team
6 – Turkey v Slovakia (June 28)
5 – Cuba v China (June 28)
5 – China v Cuba (June 28)

Top Serving Performances
5 – Yuan Zhi (China) v Cuba (June 28)
5 – Felipe Fonteles Luiz (Brazil) v Poland (May 29)
4 – Metin Toy (Turkey) v Slovakia (June 28)

Top Serving Performances by Team
10 – China v Cuba (June 28)
9 – Serbia v Russia (June 28)
8 – Turkey v Slovakia (June 28)

Highest Scorer by Round
Day 1: 37 – Yuan Zhi of China v Cuba (June 28)

Highest Set Score
Day 1: China v Cuba, 34-32 (June 28)

Highest Scoring Matches
Day 1: China v Cuba (June 28) 3-2 (27-25, 22-25, 32-34, 25-22, 15-13) – 240 points

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