PINAR DEL RÍO, Cuba, June 3, 2022 – The Mexican team sensationally beat Puerto Rico in a hard-fought tie-break to seal the game 3-2 (26-24, 21-25, 26-24, 15-25 and 17-15) at the closing of the inaugural program of the Norceca Challenger Final Four, which takes place in the 19 de Noviembre Hall in the westernmost province of the Island.
For the winners, the top scorers were the opposite Diego González with 24, and the corner player Josué López and the center back Axel Téllez, both with 14 each.
Five Puerto Ricans achieved double digits, opposite Gregory Torres (21), striker Pelegrín Vargas (20), center Antonio Elías (12) and cornerback Omar Hoyos (10).
Jorge Miguel Azair, Coach of Mexico: “I feel the difference in the fifth set more than anything, since we improved our reception and tightened the service as we had been doing before, but they had already tightened the serve in the second, third and fourth set. And the fundamental thing is that nothing happened with the boys because of the situation on the court due to the rain”.
Christian Aranda, captain of Mexico: “It was a very intense match for both teams during the five sets and until the end of the last point, I think it helped us a lot to start the tournament and start to loosen up. The two teams developed very well and we bring in new players and that requires adapting to this new integration”.
Gerardo de Jesús Sánchez, Coach of Puerto Rico: “I had two match points in the fifth set and we couldn’t close the match, we didn’t get a couple of balls in defense and we missed two or three balls in attack in important moments. It was a great game within the conditions of the field, although that is the same for both teams. However, there were many positive things, this is a young group surrounded by some with experience.”
Arturo Iglesias, captain of the Puerto Ricans: “We made mistakes at key moments on serve and defense, but I’m very proud of my teammates because they played with their hearts and gave everything. It was a difficult day for both teams and difficult conditions to play. Now to rest and prepare for the next game against the Dominican Republic, which is very important”.