Hosted by WPH Team Member Veronica Figueroa and the Lincoln Terrace Handball Association
Brooklyn, NY, WPH Press, 8/28/16- The Lincoln Terrace Handball Association was proud to present the 2016 Big Blue Ballers, featuring the top men’s 1-Wall Big Ball singles and women’s 1-Wall doubles handball players in New York City. The 2016 Big Blue Ballers was held at St. John’s Park in Brooklyn, one of New York City’s premiere 1-Wall handball facilities.
Kadeem Bush entered the 2016 Big Blue Ballers men’s singles as the defending champion, having stunned Timbo Gonzalez and Tywan Cook in last year’s event to capture his first major 1-Wall Big Ball singles title. Bush would have to deal with not only Gonzalez and Cook to defend his Big Blue Baller’s title, but also Gio Vasquez, Andres Calle, Tavo Ruiz, Justin Richie, Eric Cruz, Jessie Vacher, Iggy Accardi and a host of other top 1-Wall stars.
The men’s open field of 71 players was whittled to two after nine hours of play in searing Brooklyn heat and humidity, as the top players battled the conditions and one another in their quests to become the 2016 Big Blue Baller. Tywan Cook entered the event as the number one seed and cruised to the final in his five matches, including an impressive display of offense and speed against Tavo Ruiz in the upper-bracket semifinal. “I thought Tavo was going to win the event until he ran into Tywan.” Stated WPH reporter Jason Ke. “Tywan was just playing amazing.”
Timbo Gonzalez entered the event as the second seed, having lost two 1-Wall Big Ball singles majors earlier this summer but was determined to end the New York 1-Wall Big Ball major scene on a high at the Big Blue Ballers. Gonzalez’s extra motivation was evident in the early rounds, as he cruised to the quarterfinals with little difficulty. Gonzalez continued his inspired play in the later rounds, defeating JR WPH NYC Junior Shootout champion Chullo Martinez in the quarterfinals and never allowing Gio “The Human Torch” Vasquez to catch fire in the semifinals setup a scintillating final with Tywan Cook.
Gonzalez played up to his nickname in the highly anticipated final, as the “Baby Dragon” was relentless in dispatching of his New York City rival. “Timbo just played really consistently throughout the match and it seemed like that consistency forced Tywan into errors,” stated WPH reporter Jason Ke. “Timbo was getting to a lot of shots that Tywan wasn’t expecting. Timbo served hard and put away most shots.”
“It feels good to pick up this win,” stated Gonzalez. “I’ve been training again and working out everyday and that’s what made the difference.”
Gonzalez will enter the WPH/WOR 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships as the 1 Wall International favorite and on the short list of 3WallBall favorites September 22nd-25th in Las Vegas. For more information on the WPH/WOR 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships September 22nd-25th in Las Vegas and how to enter the event, go here
Tywan Cook def Tavo Ruiz 21-5
Timbo Gonzalez def Gio Vasquez 21-8
Finals: Gonzalez def Cook 21-10
The Big Blue Ballers Women’s Doubles featured 29 teams, making the Big Blue Ballers the largest women’s draw of the year in New York City. The team of Jojo Para and Beebee Garcia advanced to the final in the top bracket, while Suly Ruiz and Jecela Rivera advanced to the final in the bottom bracket. Team Ruiz/Rivera appeared to have the title within their grasp, leading 20-13 in the one game final to 25. Team Para/Garcia regrouped and scored 12 of the final 13 points of the match with incredible agility and front court play to stun their rivals and clinch the title. “The comeback was amazing,” stated WPH reporter and tournament director Veronica Figueroa. “The women’s doubles was truly a highlight of the weekend, with 58 pre-registered players and great matches throughout the day.”
Women’s Doubles Final: Team Para/Garcia def Team Ruiz/Rivera 25-21
Thank you to WPH reporters Chullo Martinez, Jason Ke, and Veronica Figueroa for the updates from Brooklyn!
For more information on the Lincoln Terrace Handball Association’s Big Blue Ballers, go tobigblueballers.com
The World Players of Handball is thrilled to announce that Big Blue Ballers tournament director and handball ambassador Veronica Figueroa has been named as a special advisor to the WPH board of directors. Ms. Figueroa will assist the WPH with tournament advice, tournament coverage, junior clinics and events, and officially become part of the WPH international team. “We are so excited to welcome Veronica to the WPH family,” stated WPH Executive Director David Vincent. “Veronica has proven that there is no one more passionate about growing the game of handball and no one willing to sacrifice more of her time and energy to provide opportunities for handball players to play in outstanding tournaments and give back to the next generation. Welcome aboard Veronica!”
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WPH Senior Writer