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

Lausanne, Switzerland, November 12, 2017 – Puerto Rico took the top spot on the second competition day, as Mexico bounced back to upset hosts Cuba in the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Qualification Tournament on Saturday. 

Puerto Rico posted a 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-18) win over Guatemala for their second straight-set win in the tournament, while Mexico beat Cuba 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-23) to tie at 1-1.

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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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