David, Chiriquí, Panama, September 24, 2023 – Panama displayed strength in their 3-1 (25-17, 23-25, 25-11, 25-13) victory over Honduras in the closing match of the opening day of the VI AFECAVOL Men’s U23 Central American Championship at the La Basita Sports Center.
Despite losing the second set, the home team excelled in attack and blocking, especially with Gherson Ortiz scoring 19 points (18 attacks, one block) although suffering an ankle injury in the fourth set. Victor Arauz added 17 points (13 attacks, 3 blocks, one service), and Denzel Airbone contributed 15 points (14 attacks, one block).
Honduras’ top scorer was Leonardo Villegas with 15 points.
Panama dominated with a 55-35 advantage in kills and an overwhelming 12-0 lead in blocks, closing with a 6-3 edge in serving. Honduras committed 25 unforced errors compared to Panama’s 28.
Honduras will play against Costa Rica on Monday at 5:00 p.m. (Panama time), and Panama has a rest day.
Eric Lucero, coach of Panama: “It’s super important to start with a win, especially as hosts. The second set was a bit complicated for us, but we managed to regroup, evaluate, and win the match. It’s positive how the guys reacted; we can’t be overconfident when we have the upper hand. They need to know that other teams also prepare”.
Daniel Andrade, captain of Panama: “I feel very happy; thanks to God, we got the victory. It wasn’t easy; we fought for it as a team. One important thing is that we didn’t lose our spirit after losing the second set. We kept fighting and climbing to win the match”.
José Reyes, coach of Honduras: “Honestly, I’m pleased; the guys did a good job against the host team. We have experienced players and many young ones who need that experience, and there are several scenarios where you can give them the opportunity, hoping they gain experience. Overall, I liked how they performed and faced the first game”.