MANAGUA, Nicaragua, October 21, 2022.- Panama (2-1) left all on the court in an exciting 3-2 (22-25, 25-17, 10-25, 26-24, 15-11) victory over El Salvador (2-2) at the XIX AFECAVOL Men’s U21 Central American Championship.
El Salvador was on its way to a solid win after taking the third set by a 25-10 huge margin, after a roller coaster first two sets, but the Panamanians battled with courage in winning the fourth to a close 26-24. In the tie-break, Panama controlled by a slim advantage despite the pressure from El Salvador.
Emanuel Pérez was crucial for Panama with 20 points, with teammates David de León scoring 19 and Victor Pérez with 14 to the winning cause; as well as the great performance in defense by libero Jeremy Casasola in the final sets.
For El Salvador, Gabriel Vargas topped with 22 points, Abner Cano with 20 and Julio Jiménez added 11.
Panama led by one point 54-53 in attacks and 13-12 in blocking, with De León and Kevin Acosta with five effective blocks. Panama dominated in serves 4-1, committing 36 errors against 27 from its opponent.
David de León, captain of Panama: “We are glad for the victory against a team like El Salvador; I have no words to explain our opponents’ game level and what we lived today. This is just the beginning; we must continue to effort ourselves. Thank God, this puts us in a better position and we must continue improving”.
Emanuel Pérez, top scorer of Panama: “I am super excited, I thank God for this victory and to my team who left everything on the court. The last points were exciting, and we thank God all he has given us. We had a great connection as a team, we are improving every day, we are elevating”.
On Saturday Panama faces Guatemala at 4:00 p.m. and El Salvador has the day off.