Coaches optimistic ahead of Pan American Cup Final Six

EDMONTON, Canada, September 18, 2023.- Ahead of the third edition of the NORCECA Pan American Cup Men’s Final Six Cup, September 19 to 24 at the Flair Airlines Hangar, in Edmonton, Canada, the teams’ head coaches spoke about their expectations for this tournament.

Manuel Espinosa, head coach of Cuba:  “The expectations for this tournament are, first and foremost, the development of these athletes who, for some time now, have been able to show the talents we have in Cuba and this competition is a great opportunity to do so.”

Gerardo de Jesus Sanchez, head coach of Puerto Rico: “We come with a young team, mainly from the U.S. colleges, and we want to give many Puerto Rican players the opportunity to develop for the future of the national team.”

Jorge Azair, head coach of Mexico: “Principally, we are preparing for the Olympic Qualification Tournament, which is coming up in China. And we are trying some newer players on the Mexican team. Some players are already in Europe, but we have eight players here that will be with us at the Olympic qualifier.”

Dan Lewis, head coach of Canada: “It’s an interesting tournament because most teams are different combinations, so there are a lot of new faces out there and in that sense you don’t have a ton of time to prepare. There is going to be a lot of adaptation during each game, so it’s a heavy cognitive load for the guys.  … This is half of our Next Gen and half of the U21 squads, so even our guys have not played together as a team that much.  It makes it interesting, but of course, as soon as the whistle blows and the balls start flying, we are going to want to win.”

Alexander Gutierrez, head coach of Dominican Republic: “We have brought a very young team here that are looking for more experience. We’ve worked day after day to improve our level, but this tournament for us is about getting experience more than results. We have six players who are under 20 years old and several U23 players. Our senior team is preparing for the Pan American Games.”

Andy Read, head coach of USA, “We’re looking forward to this NORCECA tournament. We’ve brought a mix of younger guys and some of our older guys. I think it will be a great opportunity for some of the rising stars of NORCECA to shine, and hopefully for USA to play a great tournament.”