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PR loses nail-biter to DR but qualified for 2023 Pan American Games

PR & DR battled until the last seconds of this 5 set match. (Photo Blanca Canino-Vigo/Latinosports)

PONCE, PR — Yesterday, Thursday my wife Blanca and I drove down to Ponce, Puerto Rico to join our friend and Latino Sports collaborator, Richard Araujo who has been attending the XX Women’s Volleyball Pan American Cup games here in his hometown.

DR team during national anthems. (Photo Latino Sports)

PR team during national anthem. (Photo Latino Sports)

Unlike Richard who has Volleyball in his DNA, Blanca and I have never had the pleasure of experiencing a professional volleyball game. Therefore, to watch Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play each other was too much for us to miss and we headed down to cover this rivalry matchup. Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, the three islands of the Greater Antilles have had an internal rivalry, especially the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico which play against each other more often in a variety of sports. Unfortunately, things are much more difficult for our sister island, Cuba to visit due to restrictive and sometimes abusive U.S. State Department policies. This is the reason Cuba is not present at these games today.

PR center blockers in action. (Photo Latino Sports)

Yesterday’s rivalry match at the Juan “Pachín” Vicéns Coliseum was everything that it was made out to be. The Dominican Republic was the favorite to win, but Puerto Rico was prepared to give it all for this match, not so much for the rivalry, but a win or good performance would secure them a place in the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games in Chile. “The goal of the tournament, which was to qualify for the Pan American Games, was achieved. We are very happy, and now to look for something else”, said Fernando Morales, coach of the National Team, after last night’s match against the Dominican Republic.

The game was exciting from the first minute to the very last second of the fifth set which Puerto Rico forced after losing the first two sets but made a great comeback by dominating the next two sets to extend the match to a fifth and decisive set. The teams played their hearts out from the start and tied at every point of the set. The last tie was at 14-14. A block by Gaila González, after some spectacular defensive plays by herself, gave the Dominican Republic the advantage point, 15-14. And then center back Geraldine González made an ace to end the game in favor of the Dominicans.

My wife and I and every fan that attended yesterdays game were treated to some of the most exciting competitive games of any sport.

Congratulations to all the ladies in this tournament from the following countries — México, Costa Rica, Perú, Chile, Argentina, Canadá, Columbia, U.S.A.

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