TRINIDAD and Tobago finished in the cellar position in the Men's Pan American Volleyball Cup after suffering a heart-breaking defeat yesterday in Dominican Republic.
Tackling Venezuela for seventh position after both teams had failed to find winners' row from their four previous matches in the tournament, the Caribbean champions were nosed out 27-25, 18-25, 25-20, 25-27, 15-13.
The almost two-hour encounter was so close that both teams ended up winning the same amount of points (110). Three Venezuelans scored in double figures, as compared with five for T&T.
Marc Honore, this country's only professional player, had a game-high 23, while skipper Nolan Tash and Ryan Stewart contributed 18 each, one more than Venezuela's top-scorer Salerno Hector.
Sean Morrison, who like Tash has been on the T&T squad for several years, chipped in with 11 points, one more than Jessel Davis.
After battling back from a set down to deny Canada 23-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-13 in Thursday night's quarter-finals, defending champs Brazil were stunned the following night 25-20, 25-17, 25-27, 18-25, 15-13 by Argentina.
Both semifinals turned out to be nail-biting five-setters as United States, winners of four of the six editions of this tournament, were stretched to the limit to edge Dominican Republic 25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 25-27, 15-12.
The Dominican Republic defeated Mexico 23-25, 25-19, 25-21, 30-28 in the quarters, while Argentina and the United States were resting after winning the groups to move straight into the final four.
The final was contested after press time last night.