Puerto Rico advances into fifth CACG title match in a row

BARRANQUILLA, Colombia, August 1, 2018. - Puerto Rico advanced into their fifth title match in a row, after beating Mexico 3-1 (27-29, 25-23, 25-15, 25-22) in the men's volleyball semifinals of the 2018 Barranquilla XXIII Central American and Caribbean Games at Humberto Perea Coliseum.

Puerto Rico has won the Central American and Caribbean gold on six occasions of the total of eight title matches in the history of the event; this is their fifth title match in a row since 2002.

Puerto Rico’s recovery after losing a neck to neck first set was remarkable, improving on back to back three remaining sets. It seemed that Mexico would win the second set but Puerto Rico’s rhythm and velocity went only to improve.

Puerto Rico led in spikes 65-50 and aces 3-0, but Mexico held a 12-10 advantage in blocks. Puerto Rico allowed 27 points on errors and scored on 24 opponent errors.

Wing spiker Sequiel Sanchez and opposite player Maurice Torres carried Puerto Rico into the title match with 25 and 24 points respectively. Sanchez scored on 22 kills and 3 blocks, while Torres pushed on 21 kills and 3 aces.  Opposite Daniel Vargas of Mexico scored 22 points on 18 kills and 4 blocks and wing spiker Jorge Barajas registered 11 points. 

Angel Pérez captain of Puerto Rico spoke about their rivalry with Mexico in every sport “historically we have always played strong duels in every discipline. Today was also a great battle and we are glad to have won. Our success was to remain calm, we were a little desperate in the second set, but we recovered well and limited our amount of errors. I am glad to continue representing my country with these young players”.

Head coach of Puerto Rico Oswald Antonetti explained why Puerto won “we have a profound love for this competition. Volleyball is very important sport in our country, with structure in our junior categories, where there are many talented players. These 14 players are balanced and on the same page, they are prepared for battle and in every move there is maturity. It’s my first experience coaching this group and it’s a sublime moment for mi, we are very happy”.

Jorge Barajas of Mexico said “we knew Puerto Rico is a team with great level, we went out to surprise but they performed very calm, I believe we were a bit desperate and that made the difference. For moments it was a good struggle and both teams had good attitude; we were off guard and we needed to take risks with our serves, we were determined and we failed. Our minds are set in winning a medal”.