MANILA, Philippines - Globalport Pilipinas and San Miguel Corp. brace for what promises to be a slam-bang action and a fitting finale to a week-long chase for the first Philippine Open Open 2014 crown at the posh Manila Polo Club inside Forbes Park tomorrow.
Match time is at 4 p.m. with the Globalport of Mikee Romero hoping to pull the rug from under the favored squad of Iñigo Zobel of the SMC side in the one-game face-off between two teams which dominated the elims before an expected crowd of the rich and famous.
To prevail, Romero said they have to stop prolific Argentinian pro Juan Jauretche, who exploded for six goals in the team’s 8-5 win over Kingpower of Thailand Wednesday.
“San Miguel is a tough team with the highest handicap in Jauretche,” said Romero, who can’t think of any advantage they have over their rivals right now. “The only thing I can say for now is that San Miguel is the better team.”
Aside from the need to have a solid defensive strategy on Jauretche, Romero said they have to play real smart as a team to clinch the championship in the biggest polo event in the country in more than 50 years.
Zobel showed he can still compete at a high level by knocking down three goals in the team’s 9-7 win over Ahmibah of Royal Brunei in the opener of their Group B elims in the event presented by Manila North Harbour Port. Inc., AirAsia, Viber and San Miguel Corporation.
Other members of San Miguel are 13-year-old Tommy Bitong and Sam Hunt.
Ramon Ang, president and CEO of San Miguel Corp., will do the ceremonial toss before the title duel.
Meanwhile, Sheila Romero, founder and president of the I Want to Share Foundation, said proceeds of the event will be donated to victims of Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban. The group has been supporting grassroots organizations that create programs for women and children.
Globalport also swept its Group A assignments, pulling off similar 8-4 wins over ADEC of USA and Tang Polo of China, but Romero said they have to play extremely well to stop the vaunted San Miguel squad.
Tang Polo finished second behind Globalport in Group A after downing ADEC of USA, 6-4, while Ahmibah of Royal Brunei edged Kingpower of Thailand, 5-4, in Group B thanks to an early goal of Prince Jefri Bolkiah.
Globalport’s Thai Aiyawatt “Top” Srivaddhanaprabha, a scion of a wealthy Thai businessman, said they have to better their performance against Tang Polo to get a crack at winning the four-day event.
Aside from Srivaddhanaprabha, who had two goals in their win over Tang Polo, Romero hopes to draw the best from his two Argentinean pros in Gaston Beguerie and Rodrigo Bauzada.