Stud taken out of the auction

Until last weekend, Cuban men’s volleyball had not won the Central American and Caribbean Games for 25 years. At the Palacio de los Deportes Carlos, El Famoso, Hernandez de San Salvador, the team led by Nicolás Vives defeated the representative of the Dominican Republic in straight sets (25-17 and 25-22) and broke the constant drought that started in Maracaibo. 1998.

En route to this undefeated title, the Greater Antilles defeated Suriname in the group stage (25-20, 25-12, 25-19), the Dominicans themselves (3-1; 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-18) and Mexico (3-1; 25-17, 25-19, 19-25, 25-18). They then defeated the Guatemalan team playing as Centro Caribe Sports in the semi-finals on aggregate points (double 25-17 and 25-13).

“We made some changes, logically, we changed players in all games, except for the final. We came with this clear goal, since we had the backbone of Barranquilla, where we didn’t even win medals,” Vives said.

Five years ago, the then promising team fell short of a podium finish, losing 2-3 to Colombia and Mexico in the semi-final and bronze medal matches, respectively. However, now in the Salvadoran capital they knew how to pull the bandwagon, and they hung gold, which means a lot to this generation of players.

To secure this long-awaited crown, the Island team had an outstanding contribution from several players who ended up making it to the All-Stars of the tournament. There was a young José Masso chosen as the best central defender; Javier Concepción, the most distinguished in the service; Lebanon Taboada, most efficient passer; and libero Jonder Alonso was the MVP of the fair.

For Alonso, who has been on the four-letter team for 13 years and was an Olympian in 2016, this is a very important result in his long career.

“I really enjoyed this final because I came from Veracruz 2014 when we were bronze and it also had a bad aftertaste from previous games in Barranquilla where we were left empty. I hope this win will help us maintain the great form we provide until the end of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) and other important commitments that will come in this cycle. We are focused on the great goal of reaching Paris 2024, and although we know that this is difficult, at the same time we understand that we depend only on ourselves to achieve it, ”said the experienced player.

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Cuba had to travel to the nation of Cuscatleca from Orléans, France, host of the second week of the VNL, a strong tournament in which they currently sit 12th with a record of two wins (Brazil and Bulgaria) and six losses (Canada, Netherlands). , Italy, Japan, France and Slovenia).

“Time changes are always difficult, even more so in this case, because we come from high-level games that require a lot more from us. The strategy we have followed here has been to rest as much as possible and use every game in the Central Caribbean competition to keep fit because after this result we are in for the third and final week of VNL with clashes against USA, Serbia, Germany and Iran, which we will come out to win and achieve permanence in the next season of this important event.

Before the next multiple date, i.e. the Pan American Games scheduled in Santiago de Chile from October 20 to November 5, the men’s team will play the Norceca Continental Championship (September 3-11) in the USA, and then the pre-Olympic tournament in Rio de – Janeiro, Brazil (September 30-October 8).

To meet these challenges, the Cuban coach hopes to bring back several mainstays, such as centre-forwards Roami Alonso and Robertlandy Simon. “Romy had an injury that thankfully didn’t involve an OR, while Simon is already very close to joining this month. In the case of Osoria, who underwent Achilles tendon surgery, we will have to wait until next year to have him repaired.”

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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