Globalport, SMC brace for tough Polo Open

The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 24 2014 06:12 PM | Updated as of Feb 25 2014 02:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Globalport-Pilipinas and San Miguel Corp.-Philippines brace for a tough outing as they set out against a slew of fancied foreign rivals in the Philippine Polo Open 2014, the country’s biggest polo event to date, on March 4 at the Calatagan polo fields in Batangas.

“Expect fireworks right on the first day of competition as all six teams are eager to show their worth,” said Globalport-Pilipinas captain Mikee Romero. “We will be up against exciting teams but we are all ready to face the challenge. We have to prove that we are worthy of our new status.”

The national teams, for one, are fully motivated to go for the championship not only because of the proverbial “homecourt” advantage but also their desire to be the best in the region.

“Some teams may have more experience than us but knowing we have the support of the crowd we will do our very best to make them happy and proud of us,” said Romero in yesterday’s sprucing up of the field in time for the four-day event which will feature foreign dignitaries and high-profile officials.

Led by Iñigo Zobel, SMC-Philippines is hoping to start its title bid in the event presented by Manila North Harbour Port. Inc., AirAsia, Viber and San Miguel Corporation in grand fashion when it battles Ahmibah-Brunei, a team backstopped by the father and son tandem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah and Prince Bahar.

Globalport-Pilipinas, on the other hand, takes on the Jim Donovan-led ADEC-USA, a team Romero considered as very talented and dangerous.

Both Zobel and Romero have put a great amount of time and resources to ensure the successful staging of the event as local polo players have long been dreaming of pitting their skills against experienced and well-decorated foreign rivals.

Aside from Globalport-Pilipinas and ADEC-USA, also in Bracket A is China-Tang Polo of Shilai Liu while the other team in Bracket B is Thailand-Kingpower of Vichai Srivadhanpprabha, acknowledged as the godfather of the sport and one of the richest in the region.

The six participating teams will be divided into two groups with each group playing a single round. The No. 1 team from both groups will advance in the one-game face-off on March 9.

“Every game counts so we have to give our 100 percent each game,” said Romero, who is hoping that by staging the event the sport will continue to grow.