Panama prevailed over Honduras in four sets

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, September 18, 2018. - Panama prevailed over Honduras 3-1 (25-19, 25-16, 22-25, 25-22) on the third day of competition at the Men’s U23 AFECAVOL Central American Championship in Teodoro Palacios Flores in Guatemala City.

Panama stopped Honduras unbeaten record starting with a fast tactic performance by a comfortable margin in sets one and two. Honduras cracked Panama’s offense with longer rallies and extending the actions to a fourth set.

Panama and Honduras have the same 2-1 win-loss record; still Honduras is above Panama by a slim 10-9 ranking points.

Panama did better in spikes with 59-47 advantage and Honduras held 10-9 margin in blocks; both teams scored on 3 aces. Panama committed fewer unforced errors (22-26) than Honduras.

Outside hitter Felix Williams of Panama topped all scorers with 24 points including 22 kills and one ace. Williams was joined by outside hitter Jose Soto with 17 points and middle blocker Ludrik West with 13 points. Honduras had a balanced offense with Arturo Duran (16), followed by Irvin Reyes (14), Juan Menjivar (13) and Jose Espinal (10).

Panama (2-1) faces Costa Rica (1-2) on Wednesday and Honduras (2-1) has the day off.

The top scorer Felix Williams of Panama said “we were overconfident because we had already won the first two sets, my team got relaxed and then we were nervous because Honduras was pushing strong. We started to commit errors in every aspect, in receiving, blocking, attacking and service. We have only lost one game and we hope to win at least the silver medal”.

Alejandro Avila, captain of Honduras explained that his team got into a better rhythm too late in the game “it was very difficult, their middle blockers are very good and their team is very tall. We couldn’t control the short diagonal combinations up to the third set. We weren’t able to continue strong because Panama’s blocking was too effective.  This is only one loss; the team should recover with better energy”.

Panama’s coach Horacio Angulo said “we made very good combinations in the first sets, there were variations and my captain (Ludrik) was very effective because the setter played with him a lot. My boys got relaxed; Honduras moved forward 5-6 points in the third set, they know how to play well using their outside hitters and we were in trouble trying to catch up; they worked well hitting the ball against our blocks, so I had to make some line-up adjustments changing our opposite (Osorio). I changed the rotation so Williams could be down longer and it worked”.

Cuban Juan Andre Leon, coach of Honduras said his team put too much pressure on themselves “my players committed too many errors because they were anxious, comparing to Panama that limited their errors. Our errors were foolish, and they only can improve by playing more, being in training camps, competing more to gain experience and this is one of the limitations of the region that all the teams here have to face. Panama served well”.