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Cuba virtual champion by defeating Puerto Rico


PINAR DEL RÍO, June 8, 2018.- Cuba confirmed their status as favorite by beating the undefeated Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-20) to virtually secure the ticket of the NORCECA Volleyball Challenger Cup to the World Final which offers a spot to the League of Nations FIVB 2019.


In Sala 19 de Noviembre, both teams that staged the most contested match attacked by the ends and also by the center to open the blockade, and Cuba obtained better results in the first and second set, and those of the home side greatly benefited from the best organization in the defense its side.


The top scorer was Miguel Ángel López (14), followed by Liván Osoria and Miguel David Gutiérrez, each with 12 points, and Osniel Melgarejo (10), while Puerto Rican Eddie Rivera was the only in double digits with 11 marks.


Nicolás Vives, technical director of the hosts, said that "my team played very well, the boys performed excellently, but we have to continue working on negative aspects to get better performance at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla. I think this victory is important to go to the other tournament of Challengers, where we will play five games of the highest level, and develop little by little.”


"Today I had to maintain my regular team because the Puerto Ricans showed what they know, play very well, it's a team with a lot of talent and experience, a rival that has to be played well from start to finish. The reception, we have emphasized that element, but I am not satisfied yet".


His captain, center Liván Osoria, said excitedly that "we went from less to more, the goal was fulfilled and tomorrow we win to Costa Rica we have the opportunity to go to another tournament that allows us more preparation for the Central American and Caribbean Games of Barranquilla , where we aim to conquer the gold, playing more than 20 games the six that we were in professional leagues has contributed to having more confidence, to forgetting about the public and its pressure, in short, it has been vital".


For his part, Puerto Rico Ramón Burgos said that "we play at a very high level, we move from less to more in the tournament, we made mistakes today that could have been avoided to achieve victory, but I am very proud of my group, of our coach and all those who have helped us. This is not the end, we have the Pan American Cup, the Barranquilla Games and the World Cup in Bulgaria and Italy, and in almost all of them we will find the same with Cuba, so to prepare. "


The head coach of the Puerto Rican Manuel Acevedo acknowledged that "Cuba reduced the number of errors that characterized them and tightened very well after point 20. In the three sets we played fairly even, but in the end the experience of them and something paradoxical, was supposed that we were the defensive team, on the other hand they did it well and we got complicated in the transition, we were not effective in something that we depend on that, to lift balls and the passes were extended, we could not and that is why they prevailed. Cuba is a team with and I am pleased with the balance of the tournament and the way the team played, the illusion was the ticket, but we came to this meeting with the possibility and it was fought ".


"The young players had an important experience, especially two of them had never been starters in a competition and of the 12 we will evaluate seven or eight to continue the year with us."


Tomorrow these are the matches: 15:30 Trinidad-Tobago vs Guatemala and 18:30 Cuba vs Costa Rica.