Puerto Rico take lead as Mexico upset Cuba in Men’s World Championship qualifiers
Jean C. Ortiz led Puerto Rico to its second straight-set win in the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship qualifier in Pinar del Rio, Cuba
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Two more spots are at stake in the NORCECA qualification tournament to complete the 24-team roster of the Men’s World Championship. NORCECA sides USA, Dominican Republic and Canada have already secured their spots at next year’s World Championship.
In the first match of Day 2 at Sala 19 de Noviembre, Jean C. Ortiz and Ezequiel Cruz provided firepower for Puerto Rico to claim a vital win over Guatemala 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-18). Ortiz and Cruz scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, outplaying Guatemalan opposite Andy Leonardo’s solo double-digit effort of 15 points.
“We have gone through many difficulties to reach this moment and we hope to complete this mission with a triumph against Cuba tomorrow,” Puerto Rico captain Angel Perez said. “It would be special because it will be my fourth World Championship and it would be a big victory for the team and our people.”
Daniel Vargas recorded 20 points in Mexico’s 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-23) win over hosts Cuba. The visiting side outscored the home team on blocks 9-7, and controlled their powerful service game and great attack rhythm.
“We never gave up and went on with the attitude that we were going to face a tough team that always outplayed us with their block,” Mexico captain Pedro Rangel said. “We grew as a team, we risked everything and it paid off.”
Remaining match schedule (all times local):
November 12, 14:30 – Mexico v Guatemala
November 12, 16:30 – Cuba v Puerto Rico
For more details on this qualification tournament, including results, statistics and photos, visit NORCECA’s official website.
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