2017 Pan American Cup – Men
Puerto Rico def. Venezuela 3-2 (25-19, 17-25, 25-17, 25-27, 16-14)
Argentina def. Canada (27-25, 25-23, 25-11)
Emerson Rodriguez scored 31 points, but it was not enough to complete Venezuela’s comeback effort in a five-set loss to Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, Argentina continued on to a 3-0 Pan Am Cup start and semifinal berth with a 3-0 win over Canada.
Both Puerto Rico and Canada move on to the quarterfinals, while Venezuela is eliminated from the competition. Puerto Rico will face Pool A’s third place team from the United States, while Canada will take on second place Dominican Republic on Friday.
Puerto Rico 3, Venezuela 2
Ten Venezuelan miscues were the difference in a hard-fought five-set match between Puerto Rico on Thursday. The Puerto Ricans had help from 33 errors, while committing just 23 in the victory.
Down 2-1 in the match and 24-23 in Set 4, Venezuela did not give up, instead thrwarting two match point opportunities and grabbing a 27-25 win with a big block by Edson Valencia. The Venezuelans carried the momentum into Set 5, jumping ahead 6-3, only to see Puerto Rico fight back to take a 10-9 lead en route to the 16-14 victory.
“It was a great match for both teams,” Puerto Rican coach Ramon Hernandez said. “A great offensive performance by both Venezuela and Puerto Rico, and at the end we pulled it out. It was the first five-game match of the tournament – so it was exciting to be part of this match. I am proud of the team.”
Venezuela led 63-61 in kills and 11-9 in aces, while both teams managed five blocks. In the end, the teams errors prevented them from pulling off the comeback win.
Emerson Rodriguez put up a match-high 31 points, with 28 kills and three aces, but it was not enough for the Venezuelans. Edson Valencia (17) and Fernando Gonzalez (16) also chipped in double-digit efforts for the side. Gonzalez notched 15 kills, while Valencia managed nine kills, a team-best six aces and two blocks.
Five players scored in double digits for Puerto Rico, led by Maurice Torres’ 19. Sequiel Sanchez (14), Mannix Roman (13), Steven Morales (13) and Pablo Guzman (10) followed. Torres put down a team-best 16 kills and added three aces. Sanchez registered 13 kills, while Morales added 11 putaways and a team-leading two blocks.
“It was a close match,” Venezuelan coach Ronald Sarty said. “Both teams have a strong service and it made the difference in the sets. We led by four points in the tie-break and these are situations we need to manage at this level. We must work on the psychological aspect and we need to finish off the game. We had key players who could not come here due to various reasons, but this is not an excuse as we had everything to win the match.”
Argentina 3, Canada 0
Thirty miscues doomed Canada in a three-set loss to Argentina in the Pool B finale. The errors were a 14-point swing for the winners, who committed just 16 miscues of their own.
Also aiding Argentina in the victory were 44 kills (to 36). Canada did win the blocking battle (6-3) and from the service line (2-0).
Bruno Lima scored a match-high 11 points for Argentina, with 10 kills and a block. Sebastian Sole and Martin Ramos added seven points apiece, each tallying six kills and a block.
Casey Schouten and Irvan Brar paced Canada with nine points apiece, notching eight kills and a block each. Ryan Sclater followed with seven points, including six kills and a block. Byron Keturakis registered a team-leading two blocks as well as both of the team’s aces.