MANILA, Philippines - The first Philippine Polo Open fires off March 4 with the country’s top polo players going up against the best in the region in what promises to be a slam-bang action among Asia’s rich and famous at the Calatagan polo field.
Sportsman-businessman Mikee Romero of Globalport and hotshot Inigo Zobel of Ayala and San Miguel fame are joining hands for the first time to ensure the successful staging of the five-day event, which will feature the national teams of Thailand, Brunei and China among others.
“The biggest names in the sport of polo in the region are coming so we are doing everything to make the event not only successful but also very memorable to them,” said Romero.
The Phl Open is a sequel to two major tournaments Romero himself sponsored last year, including one designed for young, upcoming polo players.
Vichai Srivadhanpprabha, godfather of the sport and one of the richest in the region, will head a compact Thai squad with sons Tal and Top serving as co-captains. The famous Thai sportsman owned Leicester City FC, UK’s Second Division leader which is bound to enter the Premiere Division.
Other players to watch in the event sponsored by Globalport 900, Inc., San Miguel Corp., Lifestyle Asia, Air Asia and Manila North Harbour Port, Inc. as major sponsors are Brunei’s national team, led by the father-and-son tandem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah and Prince Bahar.
Prince Jefri is the younger brother of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
Shilai Liu of Tang Polo banners the Chinese national team in the event, which is expcted to assemble royalties and dignitaries from various countries.
Spicing up the action is a crack US team led by ADEC’s Jim Donovan and Hollywood producer Lope “Jun” Juban Sr.
The six teams are bracketed in two divisions with Globalport-Pilipinas of Romero, Tang Polo-China and ADEC-USA comprising Group A. San Miguel Corp.-Philippines of Zobel, Kingpower-Thailand and ADEC-USA make up Group B.