Curitiba, Brazil, July 8, 2017 – Captain Bruno Rezende is arguably Brazil’s most popular player in the FIVB Volleyball World League Finals – Group 1 in Curitiba. Opposite Wallace De Souza and outside hitter Ricardo Lucarelli, who share the scoring load of the team, also get well-deserved standing ovations every time they enter the Arena da Baixada stadium.
But it will be another player, one who perhaps does his job in more of a quiet way, who will have a pivotal role when the world ranking leaders face France this Saturday at 23:05 (local time) in the gold medal match of the tournament. Outside hitter Mauricio Borges, 28, is a key player to Brazil’s new team, helping in multiple aspects of the game.
A FIVB Junior world champion in 2009, Mauricio is a long-time member of Brazil’s National Team, being called up for the first time back in 2010. The Maceió native, though, had tough competition for playing time with stars like Gilberto ‘Giba’ Godoy Filho, Murilo Endres and Dante Amaral until he earned his spot on the team last year.
“I’ve always worked hard to be ready to do my best when the team needs me”, Mauricio commented. “I knew my time would come and this is a very important moment for me. It means a lot helping the team to get to the final again and this time at home, in such a beautiful atmosphere here in Curitiba”.
Mauricio Borges celebrates a point with his teammates
Mauricio’s success can be told by the numbers as the outside hitter has amassed positive numbers in a variety of fundamentals. During the Preliminary Round, he was the best receiver of the tournament and ranked third on digs. For the Finals, he added an offensive punch to his game, leading the serve stats and averaging almost 12 points per match.
“Our coaching staff always tries to bring us some useful information and we knew we could catch them off guard with a few adjustments. I’m glad it worked well”, he said.
Other positives against the USA included the balance Brazil displayed over the entire match following an inconsistent 3-2 win over Russia
. Against the French, who won 11 of their 12 matches so far, the hosts will need to be even more effective to celebrate their 10th World League medal in front of their fans.
“We are creating a new identity for this group after some changes following the Olympic Games”, Mauricio added. “We get better after each match and we are adding more intensity to our game. We’ll need to play our best game in the final and bring to the court everything we worked on for the past several weeks”.