Puerto Rico Blocks Guatemala to move into Quarterfinals

Nogales, Mexico, June 13, 2024. – Puerto Rico used its advantage in blocking (12-4) to defeat Guatemala 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-16) and advance to the quarterfinals of the U21 Men’s NORCECA Continental Championship in Nogales, Mexico.

Puerto Rico (1-2) finished third in pool B and will face the loser between United States and Mexico in the quarterfinals. Guatemala (0-3) will compete in the matches for positions 5 to 8.

In addition to their significant advantage in blocking, Puerto Rico led in attacks (38-24) and aces (4-0). Puerto Rico committed one more error than Guatemala (22-21).

Puerto Rico

With 11 points each, outside hitters Franco Roark, Sebastián Sánchez, and Lorenzo Rivera led Puerto Rico’s offense.

For Guatemala, team captain Roberto Recinos scored 8 points.

The first set was very close, but in the second, Puerto Rico quickly jumped to a 5-0 lead thanks to a service error by Guatemala, followed by a spike and two blocks from middle blocker Janluar Figueroa, shifting the momentum of the match; from then on, Puerto Rico never trailed.

Roberto Recinos GUA

Puerto Rico’s coach, Gerardo De Jesús, said: “Guatemala has improved in recent years and gave Cuba a tough match, so we came well prepared to face them today. Regardless of the opponent, this age-group is very emotional and is developing. We’ve advanced to the next round, and we look forward to the matchup either against Mexico or the United States, for which we’ll be well prepared.

Guatemala’s captain, Roberto Recinos, remarked: “We started evenly with Puerto Rico, but then we had a bad attitude on the court. We couldn’t maintain our energy throughout the match because Puerto Rico served very well, and we couldn’t handle the reception.”