Cuba and Puerto Rico join NORCECA Men’s semifinals
Langley, Canada, September 27, 2013 – Defending champions Cuba and Puerto Rico advanced to the semifinals of the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship following victories over Dominican Republic and Mexico, respectively, on Thursday night at Langley Centre.
In Friday’s semifinals Cuba will play hosts Canada while Puerto Rico will meet United States. Bahamas, who defeated Guatemala, will play St Lucia for seventh place.
Cuba overcame a 31-point performance by Dominican Republic’s Jose Caceres to win 25-21, 21-25, 23-25, 25-16, 15-12 while Puerto Rico dispatched Mexico in straight sets 25-17, 25-17, 25-22. In the consolation round, Bahamas won 25-18, 25-21, 25-23.
“Dominican Republic players did their best and it was so complicated for us,” Cuba’s captain Alexis Lamadrid said. “We were able to play more physical at the end. They were tired and we got the best out of that.”
“Congratulations to Cuba,” the Dominican Caceres said. “I also want to congratulate ourselves because this was a great match. We did our best and they pushed us with their serves and their opposite worked very well.”
“This was a very important victory,” Puerto Rico’s captain Enrique Escalante said. “We are very happy for it and for being in semifinals. Mexico is a team that fights hard and you can’t give them any break. We played hard from the beginning to the end.”
Cuba 3, Dominican Republic 2
In the longest match of the tournament, Cuba edged Dominican Republic in five sets (25-21, 21-25, 23-25, 25-16, 15-12). Rolando Cepeda topped Cuba with 22 points followed by Lazaro Fundora and Javier Jimenez with 17 and 13 respectively. The Dominican Jose Caceres finished with a tournament-high 31 points and Elvis Contreras had 17 in the losing effort.
Puerto Rico 3, Mexico 0
Puerto Rico defeated Mexico in straight sets (25-17, 25-17, 25-22). The winners relied on the solid offensive effort by Roberto Muñiz and Ezequiel Cruz with 15 and 10 points respectively. Middle-blockers Escalante and Mannix Roman chipped in with 9 and 7 tallies. For Mexico, Daniel Vargas scored 10, while Tomas Aguilera, Jorge Quinones and Jesus Valdemar Valdes registered 7 apiece.
Bahamas 3, Guatemala 0
Bahamas produced the biggest surprise on the third day with a straight set win over Guatemala (25-18, 25-21, 25-23). Prince’Tanique Wilson scored 14 points (2 aces) for Bahamas, followed by Renaldo Knowles with 13 and Byron Ferguson with 11. Andy Leonardo Blanco closed with 12 for Guatemala.