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Puerto Rico wins NORCECA U19 Boys’ Bronze Medal

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, June 10, 2018.- Puerto Rico won the bronze medal match to Guatemala 3-1 (20-25, 25-19, 25-13, 25-17) at the NORCECA U19 Boys’ Continental Championship on Sunday at Gimnasio Nacional of San José, Costa Rica.

Puerto Rico came back from losing set one to win their third bronze medal in the history of the event, with a rather erratic performance.

Guatemala took Puerto Rico by surprise winning the first set with considerable margin. The Central American team defended well while Puerto Rico was off system in their performance. It wasn’t until the third set that Puerto Rico jumped to a comfortable seven point lead.

Puerto Rico managed a considerable 50-34 margin in attacks, a huge 15-3 advantage in blocks and 6-1 in aces. Puerto Rico committed 36 unforced errors and Guatemala a total of 24.

Puerto Rico balanced their scoring offense between opposite Sebastian Negron with 19 points, wing spiker Wilmer Hernandez with 18 points and middle blocker Emanuel Adames with 13 points. David Ismalej led Guatemala with 13 points and wing spiker Kevin Hoil chipped in with 12 points.

Opposite Sebastián Negron of Puerto Rico: “it was a rocky beginning but we didn’t lose control; we were patience and got back into our own rhythm. Our blocking was crucial in our recovery and being more effective. We take third place of the zone y we hope to qualify to worlds in another tournament”.

Coach Juan Albarran of Puerto Rico: “we started off erratic, our reception was poor, it wasn’t expected to receive so badly against Guatemala. We made adjustments, using a bench player like Diego Rosich turned out fine; he gave the stability we needed”.

Coach Luis Fernando Castañeda of Guatemala: “in conclusion this was a win-win experience. The opportunity for such young players is unbeatable. We put up a good fight against Puerto Rico, we learned a lot and it’s really satisfying finishing just short behind the best ranked teams in the world”.

Captain David Ismalej of Guatemala: “it was team effort; fourth place is the best place we could have thought of. Our reception worked better in the first set and we were more effective in blocking, this result motivates us to continue practicing”.