San Miguel king of PH Polo Open

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 10 2014 07:39 PM | Updated as of Mar 11 2014 03:39 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Inside the polo field, San Miguel is also as good as advertised.

Combining youth and experience, San Miguel ruled the inaugural Philippine Polo Open yesterday with a runaway 9-4 victory over Global Port in Makati.

Even before the first throw-in, Global Port owner Mikee Romero knew what to expect. He described San Miguel as the better team. And it showed.

Riding high on Inigo Zobel’s early goals, San Miguel got off to a strong start. The veteran of countless polo matches scored two goals in the first chukker and went on to finish with three.

“We had a good game today. The team functioned well. But it wasn’t easy. We just got the good breaks,” said Zobel.

“Our advantage is that we’ve played together before and our horses worked well. We were lucky today,” he added.

Romero did not see action in the title match due to the death of his grandfather earlier in the day.

“I wanted to play but I couldn’t,” said Romero.

He still came to watch the match along with his lovely wife, Sheila, who heads the I Want to Share Foundation.

Proceeds of the match will go to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

San Miguel raced to a 4-0 start and never really looked back even if Global Port countered with two goals from Rodrigo Bauzada, a professional polo player.

In the third chukker, San Miguel made it 6-2 and pretty much broke the backs of the Global Port players. By the fourth chukker, the issue was settled at 8-3.

Tommy Bitong, a 13-year-old who’s up against players old enough to be his father, delivered two goals for San Miguel in the third. After the match, he got a lot of taps in the back.

“He’s going to be a very good player,” said Zobel of Bitong.

Zobel scored three goals for San Miguel while Bitong had two. Rounding up the scoring for the team were Sam Hunt and Juan Jauretche with also two apiece.

Bauzada and Gaston Beguerie scored two goals apiece for Global Port.

Early in the match, there was a moment of anxiety when Jauretche, a 21-year-old five-goaler from Argentina, fell off his pony after a midfield scramble.

There was a hush from among the beautiful crowd as he lay on the field. An ambulance was called in. But even before it could get to Jauretche, he got up on his feet, and the crowd applauded.

Finishing third was Royal Brunei following a 5-4 win over Tang Polo of China. Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei saw action as well as Prince Qawi Bolkiah and Prince Bahar Bolkiah.

It was a great day for polo and the crowd was treated to some great action.

After the awarding ceremony, fireworks lit up the sky. It was time to party.