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P/Rico downs battling T&T vball men
Three-time Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) men’s champions, T&T, put up a spirited display but in the end fell to Puerto Rico, 15-25, 14-25, 25-27, in their opening match of the NORCECA Men’s Challenger Cup for a ticket to the World Final qualifying to the League of Nations of the FIVB 2019 on Tuesday in Cuba.
Playing at the November 19 Pavilion in Pinar del Rio, the young Puerto Ricans behind some solid blocking and a very precise service game, as well as a stability in the receipt, were very efficient throughout the 91 minutes contest against a T&T line-up which was minus Portugal- based Marc-Anthony Honore and last year’s CAZOVA winning team “Most Valuable Player” Brandon Legall.
T&T coach and former national team player Sean Morrison after the loss, pointed out that his team went out to give everything from the beginning.
“We got very determined on the court and we always played hard, little by little we will keep raising our level. I saw my boys playing well and I hope they do it better in the next match.”
The Puerto Ricans held the advantage in all key aspects of the match against the Ryan Stewart-captained T&T squad, 36-23 on spikes, 9-2 on service aces and 9-8 on blocks while committing 20 errors to the twotime reigning CAZOVA champions.
For Puerto Rico, opposite Pedro Rosario was the main scorer with 12 points while Pablo Guzman added nine, Jessie Colon seven, Pedro Nieves six, and the duo of Eddie Rivera and Ramon Burgos, five apiece.
Stewart led T&T with ten points, which included nine kills and one ace while Marlon Phillip added eighth (six kills and two blocks) and Mikheil Hoyte, seven (four spikes, three blocks).
“We did not start at the maximum level of our abilities, but we entered the match very determined to do well and gradually we went up, without thinking that we could not win,” said Stewart. “That allowed us in the last set to be up to par with our rivals and we must feel better about ourselves after this match and even though it is not our main commitment of the season, we will do our best.”
In Tuesday’s second match, Cuba had no difficulties in defeating Guatemala 25-10, 25-16, 25-16 in 73 minutes.
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