Canadians Celebrate, Puerto Ricans Rejoice, United States Magnanimous - Butterfly Table Tennis
Site Products
Ivan Santos, President of the Puerto Rican Table Tennis Federation

Canadians Celebrate, Puerto Ricans Rejoice, United States Magnanimous

Canadians Celebrate, Puerto Ricans Rejoice, United States Magnanimous
2015 Pan American Games
Courtesy of ITTF

July 20, 2015 – Celebration after celebration was the order of the proceedings as play concluded on the second day of action at the 2015 Pan American Games on Monday July 20th in Markham, Toronto.

After Brazil, the top seeds, with Hugo Calderano, Thiago Monteiro and Gustavo Tsuboi on duty, alongside the Paraguayan trio of Marcelo Aguirre, Axel Gavilan and Alejandro Toranzos, the no.10 seeds, had booked their place in the Men’s Team semi-finals, it was the turn of Canada and Puerto Rico, to signal party time on the Atos Arena.

Victory at the quarter-final stage meant a medal; in all events at the 2015 Pan American Games there are two bronze medals. There is no agonizing play-off contest.

Crowd Support 
First it was Eugene Wang who ignited the passionate crowd as he set Canada, the no.4 seeds, on the path to victory against Argentina, the no.3 seeds.

He accounted for Rodrigo Gilabert (11-7, 11-7, 12-10), before Pierre-Luc Theriault doubled the advantage by overcoming Gaston Alto in a contest, where he held one match point in the third game before securing victory in a full distance duel (11-5, 11-8, 11-13, 7-11, 11-3).

Stayed Calm 
“I think today I played much better than yesterday; after losing the third game I had to find solutions”, said Pierre-Luc Theriault. “Before the start of the fifth game my coach told me to stay calm.”

Pierre-Luc Theriault stayed calm and listened to the words of Maxime Suprenant.

“I made a good start to the fifth game and felt strong mentally, the support from the crowd really lifted me”, concluded Pierre-Luc Theriault. “The crowd, when will you ever have another chance to play in such an atmosphere, it was incredible.”

Pandemonium 
It was sheer pandemonium and when Marko Medjugorac and Pierre-Luc Theriault combined to win the doubles against Gaston Alto and Pablo Tabachnik by the very narrowest of five game margins (8-11, 11-3, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9), the roof almost blew off the Atos Arena.

Canada rejoiced, some 90 minutes later in drama laden duel the Puerto Rican supporters led by their forward thinking President, Ivan Santos went stark, staring bonkers after a full distance five match win had been secured against the United States.

Three Match Points Saved 
Stars of the show were the two brightest teenagers in the whole of the Pan American continent, 18 year old Brian Afanador and 15 year old Kanak Jha.

It was delight for Brian Afanador, it was despair for Kanak Jha; I take my hat off to both for the example they set not only in the level of their play but in the splendid way they conducted themselves in the heat of battle.

In the second match of the engagement Brian Afanador saved three match points against Kanak Jha before emerging victorious; the third being one of stupendous quality; pinned to the ropes he returned lob after lob before exerting a few vital extra degrees of top spin to win the point (11-3, 9-11, 11-3, 6-11, 14-12).

Even the legendary Swede, the master of the art, Mikael Appelgren, would have stood in awe at the fare provided.

Greater Pressure
“The last time I played Kanak Jha I won three nil”, said Brian Afanador. “Here was totally different; here there was so much intense pressure and I wanted to win so much.”

Success against Kanak Jha kept Puerto Rican hopes alive after Timothy Wang had beaten Daniel Gonzalez in the opening fixture (6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8); success against Jimmy Butler in the fifth and decisive match of the fixture secured victory (11-6, 12-10, 11-3).

“I was just playing from the heart”, added Brian Afanador. “Against Jimmy Butler I felt confident but it was difficult to find a rhythm against him.”

Vital Doubles 
Two wins from Brian Afanador were crucial; so was the doubles, which witnessed a full distance success for Hector Berrios and Daniel Gonzalez against Jimmy Butler and Timothy Wang (11-13, 11-6, 6-11, 12-10, 11-8).

“In the fifth game we were down 3-5 at the change of ends, the problem was when Jim Butler served to Hector; after the change he served to Daniel but we were behind at 3-7, before eventually winning 11-8”, explained Eladio Afanador, the Puerto Rican coach. “We won, incredible, the first medal for a Puerto Rico in a men’s event at the Pan American Games; I can’t tell you how I feel.”

Strong Character
The doubles win gave Puerto Rico the lead, Kanak Jha levelled matters by beating Hector Berrios in the fourth match of the encounter (11-9, 11-9, 16-14) and underlined his quality not only as a player but as a person.

After the contest against Hector Berrios, he politely shook hands with all concerned; it was exactly the same reaction when he had suffered defeat in the classic duel against Brian Afanador; Kanak Jha was a credit to the United States and the sport of table tennis.

Puerto Rico started proceedings as the no.6 seeds, the United States, the no.8 seeds.

Semi-Finals 
At the semi-final stage, Brazil meets Canada, Paraguay opposes Puerto Rico.

Quotes of the Day
2015 Pan American Games: Quotes of the Day – Monday 20th July

Day Two: First stage of proceedings in Men’s Team and Women’s Team events concludes, medalists decided – Photos by Thorsten Gohl

Latest News

Nikhil Kumar and Lily Zhang Take Top Honors at US Nationals

July 6, 2022
(by Steve Hopkins) Lily Zhang won her sixth and Nikhil Kumar won his first – each taking their… Read More

Coaching Tip Of The Week – Consistent Contact Leads to Consistency

July 5, 2022
(by Larry Hodges) There’s a stereotype of Chinese table tennis coaches that they often do just two things… Read More

Butterfly Training Tips With Xianyao He – Silicon Team Tournament Highlights

July 4, 2022
In this Butterfly Training Tips Xianyao He is competing in the Silicon Valley Team Tournament. Xianyao, is the… Read More

WAB CLUB FEATURE: New York Indoor Sports Club

July 3, 2022
(by Steve Hopkins) With their club location in College Point, just off of the 678/Whitestone Expressway, the New York… Read More

2022 US National Team Trials

July 3, 2022
(by Steve Hopkins) Sharon Alguetti finished first in the 2022 US National Team Trials Men’s Singles event and… Read More

NeuroPong & Table Tennis Connections

July 2, 2022
(by: Antonio Barbera, Table Tennis Connections Founder & CEO) Table Tennis Connections is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based… Read More

Bowmar Sports Tournament Highlights With Emanuel Otalvaro

July 2, 2022
(By: Bowmar Sports) In this Tournament Highlights Cip, Emanuel Otalvaro is in action in two different WTT YOUTH… Read More

Top Gun: Maverick or Timo Boll?

July 1, 2022
(by Steve Hopkins) The ITTF Foundation’s Social Media had a fun post today (see below, link here).  The… Read More
View All News

Get the latest from Butterfly

Stay “In The Loop” with Butterfly professional table tennis equipment, table tennis news, table tennis technology, tournament results, and We Are Butterfly players, coaches, clubs and more.