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Cuba claim World League Group 3 gold in Turkey

Cuba players celebrate the gold medal of World League Group 3 finals
Bursa, Turkey, June 29, 2014 - World giants Cuba won the gold medal of the unique World League Group 3 finals after a hard fought win against hosts Turkey in a thrilling marathon of five sets 3-2 (24-26, 25-19, 20-25, 25-21, 16-14) in the final match at Bursa Cengiz Gollu Volleyball Hall on Sunday. China claimed third position after they beat Slovakia 3-1 (21-25, 39-37, 25-23, 25-19).  

The thrilling final was attended by 2850 spectators who supported the host team throughout the 132 minutes of the match as Turkey was near a first ever gold medal at their men team history, but they lost marrowy after fantastic tiebreak. 

Cuba achieved the second win against Turkey in three matches in their history after two meetings in Pool F this season. Both teams booked one 3-1 victory in the intercontinental round. Turkey was the only nation that managed to beat Cuba in this year's World League. 

The Caribbean country won their 217th match in their long history of 252 matches. 

Cuba beat Turkey 3-2 (24-26, 25-19, 20-25, 25-21, 16-14)

World No 7 Cuba kept their momentum going against Hosts Turkey (No 45), notching a thrilling win in a grueling five setter 3-2 (24-26, 25-19, 20-25, 20-25, 25-21, 16-14) to claim the gold medal of the FIVB World League Group 3 in the final match held at  Bursa Cengiz Gollu Volleyball Hall on Sunday. 

Turkey won the first set after a hard fought before Cuba rebounded back quickly with easy come back in the second set. Again Turkey was 2-1 ahead after great support from their spectators, but Cuba came back to win the fourth set and overcome a 4 point deficit in the tiebreak towards a hard won 3-2. 

Cuba's captain Rolando Cepeda led the match scorers with impressive 28 points which is the second best scoring performance in group 3 finals followed by Santiago Uriarte 22. Opposite Toy Metin contibuted 17 for Turkey as best scorer from his side followed narrowly by Togray Dogan 16. 

"Our players are improving and getting stronger," said Cuba coach Rodolfo Luis Sanchez. 

"Our young team loved to play in 2014 FIVB World League. They knew that this match will be tough. I want to congratulate Turkey, they played really well. 

Turkey coach Emanuele Zanini was happy with the performance although he lost. " Congratulations to Cuba for their win. I envy for the result but I am satisfied with the performance and attitude of my players. We are a young team. It was the first time that we played in the World League. Our players understood how to play real volleyball. This is a good experience for our team.

Third place match
China beat Slovakia 3-1 (21-25, 39-37, 25-23, 25-19)

Having suffered a narrow defeat at the start of their FIVB World League Group 3 finals' campaign, world No.18 China rebounded with impressive 3-1 (21-25, 39-37, 25-23, 25-19) win against world No.36 Slovakia at Bursa Cengiz Gollu Volleyball Hall on Sunday. 

This the second win for China against their opponents in 3 matches between them in history to finish the unique finals in the third position leaving Slovakia in the fourth. 

China lost their semifinal match against Cuba on Saturday after a thrilling five setter, like Slovakia who lost against the hosts in straight sets in their corresponding semifinal.

Captain Zhong Weijun’s 25 points topped the list of the scores for the winners, followed by opposite attacker Kou Zhichao 19. Ouitside hitter Matej Patak contributed 21 points for the losers as best scorer from their side followed by opposite Lubos Kostolani 17. 

With this win China collected their 50th World League win to become the 16th nation with 50 victories in the history of FIVB prestigious competition. China also finished this season’s World League on six wins, most since 2008 (6).

FIVB World League 2014 Performances

Top Scoring Performances
37 – Yuan Zhi of China v Cuba (June 28)
28 – Rolando Cepeda of Cuba v Turkey (June 29)
25 – Zhong Weijun of China v Slovakia (June 29)
25 – Ernesto Jimenez of Cuba v China (June 28)
22 – Santiago Uriarte of Cuba v China (June 29)
21 – Matej Patak of Slovakia v China (June 29)
20 – Metin Toy of Turkey v Slovakia (June 28)

Top Blocking Performances
4 – Rolando Cepeda of Cuba v Turkey (June 29)
3 – Liang Chunlong of China v Slovakia (June 29)
3 – Santiago Uriarte of Cuba v China (June 28)
3 – Isbel Mesa of Cuba v Turkey (June 29)
3 – Ernesto Jimenez of Cuba v Turkey (June 29)
3 – Emre Batur of Turkey v Cuba (June 29)
3 – Emin Gok of Turkey v Cuba (June 29)

Top Blocking Performances by Team
13 – Cuba v Turkey (June 29)
13 – Turkey v Cuba (June 29)
9 – China v Slovakia (June 29)
9 – Slovakia v China (June 29)
6 – Turkey v Slovakia (June 28) 
5 – Cuba v China (June 28)
5 – China v Cuba (June 28)

Top Serving Performances
5 – Lubos Kostolani (Slovakia) v China (June 29)
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
12 – Slovakia v China (June 29)
10 – Cuba v Turkey (June 29)
10 – China v Cuba (June 28)
9 – Serbia v Russia (June 28)
8 – China v Slovakia (June 29)
8 – Turkey v Slovakia (June 28)

Highest Scorer by Round
Day 1: 37 – Yuan Zhi of China v Cuba (June 28)
Day 2: 28 – Rolando Cepeda of Cuba v Turkey (June 29)

Highest Set Score
Day 1: China v Cuba, 34-32 (June 28)
Day 2: China v Slovakia 39-37 (June 29)

Highest Scoring Matches
Day 1: China v Cuba (June 28) 3-2 (27-25, 22-25, 32-34, 25-22, 15-13) – 240 points
Day 2: Cuba v Turkey (June 29) 3-2 (26-24, 19-25, 25-20, 21-25, 16-14) – 215 points

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