Panama works hard to defeat Belize at AFECAVOL U23

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, September 20, 2018. - Panama had to work hard to defeat Belize 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-22) at the fourth Men’s U23 AFECAVOL Central American Championship being played at Teodoro Palacios Flores Gymnasium in Guatemala City.

Panama earned an important victory improving their record to 3-2 to put them in the contest for medals with 13 ranking points. Belize has two points and with 0-4 record.

Belize played with good structure, strength and attitude, taking the lead in the first set in both technical timeouts (8-7, 16-13) finishing with a comfortable margin 25-18. Panama had to work really hard to win the height battle over the net. Panama took the lead in set two struggling to block Belize and in set three Belize pushed even stronger to tie the actions at point 14 coming from a 4 point deficit (7-11). In set four, the win didn’t come easily as the set reached point 21 tied.

Panama led in spikes 47-44 and committed fewer errors 29-34; Belize on the other hand, led in blocks 12-10 and in aces 4-2.

Outside hitter Felix Williams of Panama once again had an outstanding performance scoring a match-high of 21 points, including 18 kills and one ace. Also contributing in Panama’s victory were outside hitter Joel Campbell and middle blocker Ludrik West with 13 and 10 points respectively. Belize top scorers were outside hitters Gabriel Nuñez with 13 points, followed by Francis Hauze and Daryl Avila who registered 12 points apiece.

On Friday, Panama (3-2) will face Nicaragua (3-0) and Belize (0-4) plays to Costa Rica (2-2).

Panama’s coach Horacio Angulo said his team did a great effort to for this important result after Honduras’ loss to El Salvador. He added “my players came out of a very intense duel as winners. Williams performed very well, at the beginning my setter was too nervous and the defense improved with a change (Camarena for Soto); Campbell worked well as opposite player. Our blocks improved in the second set, Belize has great height and they attack long into the back, it wasn’t easy. We needed many adjustments, Belize didn’t hand out anything”.

Cuban Esmudio Limonta, head coach of Belize said “we won an easy first set, they followed the game tactic and then they lost their way; they couldn’t recover and execute our strategy committing many errors”.