Puerto Rico outplays Guatemala in their debut at NORCECA Men’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 14th, 2024.- Puerto Rico outplayed Guatemala in straight sets (25-19, 25-17, 25-10) in their debut at in the NORCECA Men’s Final Four in Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Guatemala kept close in the first set 12-14 but three consecutive blocks from Puerto Rico helped  them jump to a 5-point lead (17-12). Guatemala kept pushing at the end of the set, but it was not enough, and Puerto Rico won 25-19. Puerto Rico kept their concentration and pushing with their serve-block combination in the second set to win 25-17. Guatemala’s reception suffered in the third set and Puerto Rico took advantage with their high and powerful attacks and won the set 25-10.

Pedro Molina PUR

Puerto Rico held advantages in all the elements of the game, 44 to 29 in attacks, 6-1 in blocks and11-2 in points from serves, while committing fewer errors than Guatemala (14-18).

Outside hitter Pedro Molina was the top scorer of the match with 13 points, on 7 attacks, 2 blocks and 4 aces. Outside hitter Pelegrín Vargas and Opposite Klistan Lawrence added 9 points each.

Puerto Rico

Captain and outside hitter Carlos López led the offense in Guatemala with 9 points (9 attacks) followed by opposite Andy Leonardo Blanco with 8 points.

Alberto Jamille Torres, coach of Puerto Rico: today’s game was the result of teamwork, and we achieved what we wanted, which was to test all the players, have everyone fresh and prepared for a great game tomorrow against the Dominican Republic. We are betting on our serve; we know that if our serve is good, we have a good chance of winning and creating a service-defense system.

Pedro Molina, best scorer of Puerto Rico: it was the match to start off the tournament. This is practically a new team, but a super motivated one and we did well, thank God. We are warming up for the season, we have two more competitions ahead and we are preparing for much more, this is just the beginning. All the teams that came to the Final Four are good, our team has a lot of chemistry, and we are like a family and that helps us a lot when it comes to playing. A strong game tomorrow against Dominican Republic, but we are focusing day by day, on our game and on improving each point.

Reider Lucas Mora, coach of Guatemala: A game in which Puerto Rico always led the pace. They have a fairly solid team, and we think they are the most solid team in the competition, they served very well, and it made it very difficult for us to receive. Our pace of play sometimes makes it difficult for us to close a game, and it is a bit difficult for us to face a team like Puerto Rico. Tomorrow we will go out and play like we did today, hoping that things will turn out a little better for us.

Carlos López, best scorer of Guatemala: I think we are going from better to less in the game. We knew they were going to play a tough match since Puerto Rico is a great team. I think we should concentrate a little at the end, which is what failed us when they pushed the serve. For the next game we must improve our reception and get in with greater confidence, which was what made the difference in this game. Our spirits are very good since we understand that we have nothing to lose, but a lot to win and we are going to enjoy the competition.