Cuba moved into the fourteenth Men’s Pan American Cup title match sweeping Chile 3-0 (25-20, 31-29, 25-20) in semifinals on Thursday night at the Multifunctional Auditorium of Colima, Mexico.
Cuba will play their third title match in the history of the event, winning in both occasions (2014, 2016) while prevailing to a resistant Chilean team who will battle for their first ever bronze. Cuba waits for the winner in the other semifinal match between defending champion Argentina and host Mexico.
Cuba led in sets one and three, but struck harder in the second set for an overtime finish (31-29) in a blocking battle with Chile missing five dramatic set points.
Cuba led with a huge 13-6 blocking advantage and Chile with a slim 2-1 margin in aces. Both teams scored 40 points on attacks and Cuba committed fewer (21-27) errors.
Outisde hitters Osniel Mergarejo and Miguel Angel Lopez topped Cuba’s attacking offense with 14 and 13 points accordingly, all in kills. Vicente Parraguirre with 12 points, Dusan Bonacic with 11 and Tomas Parraguirre with 10 points led Chile’s score sheet.
Roamy Alonso, top blocker Cuba: “We are all very happy with the victory, hard to explain, our team is young and developing. Things got out of hand in the second set, Chile is a tough opponent so we pushed harder and united as a team. We will play the final with all our energy and give a great spectacle”.
Nicolás Vives, coach Cuba: “We are both young teams, we both played well and what’s most important is that we came on top. My guys’ desire to win makes them commit errors that only improve while playing. With this young team we’ve never played for gold, only bronze”.
Daniel Nejamkin, coach Chile: “I congratulate Cuba, they are better than us. We played well the first set up to point 16, in the second we did really well and had several opportunities to close, and the second we performed well up to point 20. We must improve if we want to keep playing at this international level and be more effective”.