Finals Sunday at the WPH/WOR 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships

Posted on Sep 28 2015 - 3:41pm by DV

IMG_0856Finals Sunday featured the game’s best men’s and women’s big ball superstars competing for WPH/WOR 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino. Sunday’s finalists endured scorching heat and the game’s best outdoor players to advance to finals Sunday, with the event’s final day producing the greatest handball of the week. The Hemborg Cup came down to one point in one of the most exciting matches in the history of the sport.

santos-samzoong3WallBall Big Ball Singles Final: Santos vs. Samzon

The game’s two greatest 3-Wall Big Ball stars met for the 2015 3WallBall World Championship, with Juan Santos aiming for his third WPH Outdoor singles title of the season and Samzon Hernandez gunning for his first. Despite a below average singles season that witnessed losses in two quarterfinals, one semifinal and one final, Hernandez still had a chance to claim the season-ending Hemborg Cup with a victory against the WPH Outdoor #1 based on his stellar doubles results throughout the season. Santos entered the 2015 3WallBall Championships as the three-time defending 3-Wall 3WallBall champion and desperately wanting to win his fourth and the Hemborg Cup for WPH Outdoor Player of the Year.

IMG_0839Hernandez recaptured the form and intensity that has made him a living legend in big ball handball, moving side to side with lightning quickness and blasting drives with prodigious power. Santos rose to the Machine’s challenge, employing his unique style of touch kills and unmatched anticipation to extend and win rallies. 20 minutes and four timeouts after the first game started, Santos served at game point, 11-11. With the game hanging in the balance, the pair traded drives and lobs, with each waiting for the opportunity to take the first game. Santos created the opening and executed a right corner kill to take an emotional game one, 12-11.

The lead and momentum changed hands several times in game two, and at 10-9 with Santos serving, Samzon found himself just two points from being eliminated by his rival. The Machine refused to blink, scoring three straight points to force a tiebreaker, prompting an eruption from his hundreds of fans in the bleachers.

IMG_0736Santos appeared to be exhausted early in the third game, as he lacked the spring in his legs to chase Samzon’s angled drives. “I was exhausted early in the tiebreaker but I took a timeout and regained some energy,” Santos would later say. Despite gaining his second wind, Santos found himself facing match point against an inspired and hungry Hernandez. After a 12-shot rally, Samzon lined up an “on-the-rise” left-handed stiff-arm kill shot attempt from the short line to win the match. The shot sounded and looked perfect, but to the disbelief of Hernandez and relief of Santos, the ball landed two inches short of the front wall, giving Santos life. Santos quickly scored the next point, tying the score at 11-11, with the winner of the next rally taking home the 3WallBall Championship and Hemborg Cup for WPH Outdoor Player of the Year. A furious rally ensured, with both players nearly ending the match with several shots before Samzon pinned Santos on the right wall with a right-hand shot to win the match. Samzon drove the ball into the open court but inexplicably the ball hung in the middle of the court, giving Santos the opportunity to chase down the drive and extend the rally. “The heat made it very difficult to execute those angle pass shots,” declared Santos after the match. Four shots later it was Santos with the opportunity to end the match, and he with a kill in the right corner, Santos claimed his fourth consecutive 3WallBall title and the Hemborg Cup. A double fist pump from the typically stoic Santos revealed what the victory meant to him with his entire family and fan base behind him. “This is just an incredible feeling,” Santos would say after the match. “Samzon is my toughest competitor and we always have great battles. This just feels amazing.”

Santos defeats Hernandez 21-11, 10-12, 12-11

IMG_08603WallBall Big Ball Doubles Final: Hernandez/Olivar vs. Cruz/Valencia

Samzon Hernandez teamed with veteran doubles specialist Edgar “Dino” Olivar, while Orange County stars Rudy Cruz and Lobo Valencia teamed for the first time in WPH Outdoor play. Samzon was able to put the disappointment of losing the singles behind him to dominate the doubles final with 43-year old big ball legend Edgar Olivar. “I feel a lot of pride being able to compete with these youngsters and to win this today,” an emotional Olivar would reveal after the match.

Hernandez/Olivar defeated Cruz/Valencia 12-6, 12-9

IMG_06043WallBigBall Women’s Big Ball Singles Final: Groomes vs. Davis

Tanisha Groomes continued to dominate Women’s 3-Wall Big Ball, rising to the challenge against the greatest women’s all-around player in recent handball history, Tracy Davis. Groomes demonstrated why she has lost just two matches in four seasons on the WPH Outdoor tour, as she played exceptionally against her handball hero. Trailing 9-10 in game one, Groomes found the bottom board from 25-feet to tie the score and needed just four more swings to score the final two points of the game. Groomes built a substantial lead in game two and cruised to the title, 12-10, 12-6.

Groomes defeats Davis 12-10, 12-6

3WallBall 3-Wall Women’s Big Ball Doubles Final: Ng/Davis vs. Groomes/Daskalakis

New York’s Sandy Ng was targeting her unprecedented sixth 3WallBall Women’s Big Ball doubles title in the sixth edition of the 3WallBall World Championships. Ng teamed with Tracy Davis in facing Tanisha Groomes and Danielle Daskalakis. Davis and Ng demonstrated their chemistry in game one, functioning as one in building an 11-5 lead. Groomes and Daskalakis found their games with their backs against the wall, firing five straight kills to reach 10-12. A controversial hinder call on a Groomes fly kill in the left corner that would have tied the score at 11 appeared to stall the comeback, as Groomes missed the identical shot to tie the game on the next rally, handing Davis and Ng a one-game lead. Groomes and Ng dominated game two to force a tiebreaker behind the sharp shooting of Groomes and defense of Daskalakis. Davis and Ng rediscovered the chemistry that has made them the most prolific winners in 3WallBall history in the tiebreaker, as Davis covered the lobs and Ng applied pressure with power drives. When the dust settled, it was Davis and Ng winning their fifth consecutive 3WallBall women’s doubles title. “I am happy to be the workhorse on the team,” stated an ecstatic Davis after the match. “We really understand how to play as a team and I an really looking forward to playing with Sandy again next year.”

Ng/Davis defeated Groomes/Daskalakis 12-10, 6-12, 12-6

IMG_07091-Wall Big Ball Men’s Singles Final: Gonzalez vs. Cook

1-Wall Big Ball “King of the Court” and current world champion Timbo Gonzalez and current 1-Wall Big ball national champion Tywan Cook faced off in the men’s 1-Wall Big Ball final. In what has become the most exciting rivalry in 1-Wall Big Ball handball, Gonzalez was hoping to erase the bitter taste of two singles losses from earlier in the summer to Cook, while “Tay Tay” was striving to maintain his mastery over Red Bull’s handball ambassador. The final was anticlimactic, as Timbo dominated play from the outset, building a huge lead and ending the match in just 12 minutes, 21-5. “My out the door shot to the left was really working for me today,” stated Timbo. “I was just on my game today and really excited to have won this title again.”

Gonzalez defeats Cook 21-5

IMG_79501-Wall Big Ball Men’s Doubles Final: Pena/Bush vs. Cook/Show

Four of New York’s top 1-Wall doubles stars met at the hottest point of the day in one of the event’s final matches. With the average rally exceeding 16 shots, all four players pushed themselves to the limit in the nearly 90-minute one-game battle. Emerging 1-Wall stars Kadeem Bush and Carlos “Los” Pena reached match point at 20-15, but the match was far from over. Tywan proved why he is one of the sport’s most exciting players, diving six feet off the court to save a match point on a seemingly perfect Bush spike kill to the left. “It’s amazing what adrenaline and heart can do for you,” Cook would later say. With both Bush and Show battling severe heat exhaustion, Cook and Los rallied their teams. “Give me everything you’ve got,” shouted Cook to Show during the comeback. After saving four match points, Cook and Show were unable to save the fifth, as Bush and Pena earned their first yellow jerseys in one of the best matches of the year, 21-19.

Los/Bush defeated Cook/Show 21-19

11952913_10153557380530519_5644814996054743851_o1-Wall Small Ball Men’s Singles Final: Moreno vs. Fink

WPH R48 #2 pro Luis Moreno faced WPH R48 #6 pro David Fink in the 1-Wall Small Ball final. Luis Moreno jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead with four straight ace serves in the one-game final to 21, but Fink earned a side out and scored six points in his first service inning. Fink maintained his advantage late into the match, leading 19-11 and just two points from his first Yellow Jersey. Moreno took advantage of a Fink error, cutting his deficit to one with six aces and a first-strike kill. Fink served at 19-18, but a quick side out and three straight points for Moreno clinched the title for “The Natural.”

Moreno defeated Fink 21-20IMG_7958

3-Wall Big Ball Women’s Singles Final: Daskalakis vs. Ng

Current 1-Wall World Women’s Big Ball champion faced current 1-Wall National Women’s Big Ball champion Sandy Ng in the final. Ng stood just two points from the world title against Daskalakis in the second and third games at the World Handball Championships in August of last month, and was looking for revenge in a rematch between the two best women’s 1-Wall big ball players on the planet. Just as she had at the 2015 World Handball Championships, Ng built a huge lead, only to watch helplessly as Daskalakis climbed back into the match to erase the deficit and snatch the title. Ng led 17-5 in the one game final to 21, dominating with apparent ease and just four points from the title. Daskalakis turned the tide, pushing Ng out of the frontcourt and controlling the action with a devastating “out the door” serve to the right. “When Danielle decides she wants it there is just no one that can stop her,” revealed New York’s Michelle Harrigan. “Danielle is just the best in 1-Wall and she’s playing incredibly well.” Double D scored 16 of the final 17 points of the match to repeat at the Women’s 3WallBall 1-Wall singles champion.

Daskalakis defeated Ng 21-18

IMG_0854Mixed Big Ball Doubles Final: Groomes/Gonzalez vs. Duenas/Arias

“Lefty” Kevin Gonzalez and Tanisha Groomes were seeking a repeat championship in the Pro Mixed Doubles, but Sal “The Wizard” Duenas and UCLA’s Karina Arias were hoping to add their names to the illustrious list of Mixed Pro Doubles champions. Duenas and Arias dominated play, winning in two games behind the steady play of “The Wizard” and the explosive play of the UCLA Bruin, Karina Arias.

Duenas/Arias defeats Groomes/Gonzalez 12-5, 12-7

IMG_04283-Wall Small Ball Singles and Doubles: Lenning Slams

Sean Lenning captured his first 3WallBall title, dismantling Luis Moreno in a 14-minute final. Lenning’s angle-hook serve aces mixed with deep hook serves were impossible for Moreno to return, as Moreno was never able to establish any momentum or rhythm against Lenning. Lenning served and killed his way to the most dominant all-around outdoor season in recent memory. Lenning slammed the doubles with Shorty Ruiz, defeating Nik Nahorniak and Vic Perez in two games.

Lenning defeats Moreno 12-2, 12-7

Lenning/S. Ruiz defeats Nahorniak/Perez 12-6, 12-11



IMG_7944The 2015 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships featured the most junior participation in the six-year history of the event, with a Junior WPH clinic to kickoff the event on the opening night and another Junior WPH clinic on the final day. Between the junior handball clinics, junior handball players dazzled galleries with their spectacular play and sportsmanship.

19-and-under: Alex Garcia defeated Marco Alatorre

15-and-under: Daniel Vasquez defeated Jesus Mendez, Jr.

12-and-under: Eddie Rocha Jr. defeated Michael Bautista

9-and-under: Benjamin Torres Jr. defeated Xavier Flores

Huge thanks to WPH Team Menbers Dave Vincent, David Fink, Lolita Vincent, Kris Gurrad, Jeff Kastner, Matt Titaino, Linda Manning, Steve Soto, and Tom Flores for running, announcing, filming, organizing, and scheduling the tournament all morning, afternoon, and evening for four straight days! It’s a thankless job but without them we would not be able to play and enjoy this amazing event. Thank you!

To watch replays of the big ball and small ball play from the Stratosphere, tune into the Watch ESPN App (here). To follow all of the scores and draws from Vegas, click here. To follow all of the updates from Vegas and in the world of handball, go to

Vegas 3WallBall Pro Champions




Men’s Pro Big Ball Singles: Samzon Hernandez

Men’s Pro Big Ball Doubles: Samzon Hernandez/Ricky Ruiz

Men’s Pro Small Ball Singles: David Chapman

Men’s Pro Small Ball Doubles: Tyree Bastidas/William Polanco

Women’s Pro Singles: Sandy Ng

Women’s Pro Doubles: Sandy Ng/Theresa Mccourt (Haley)




Men’s Pro Big Ball Singles: Gilberto (Boxer) Rosales

Men’s Pro Big Ball Doubles: Gilberto (Boxer Rosales)/Raul Calvillo

Men’s Pro Small Ball Singles: Braulio (Shorty) Ruiz

Men’s Pro Small Ball Doubles: Braulio (Shorty) Ruiz/Eddie Chapa

Women’s Pro Singles: Tracy Davis

Women’s Pro Doubles: Tracy Davis/Sandy Ng




Men’s Pro Big Ball Singles: Juan Santos

Men’s Pro Big Ball Doubles: Samzon Hernandez/Eddy Jocol

Men’s Pro Small Ball Singles: Luis Moreno

Men’s Pro Small Ball Doubles: Luis Moreno/David Vincent

Men’s Pro 1-Wall Small Ball Singles: Peewee Castro

Men’s Pro 1-Wall Big Ball Singles: Rookie Wright

Women’s Pro Singles: Tanisha Groomes

Women’s Pro Doubles: Sandy Ng/Tracy Davis




Men’s Pro Big Ball Singles: Juan Santos

Men’s Pro Big Ball Doubles: Juan Santos/Ramon (Lobo) Valencia

Men’s Pro Small Ball Singles: Jurell Bastidas

Men’s Pro Small Ball Doubles: Luis Moreno/David Vincent

Men’s Pro 1-Wall Small Ball Singles: Tyree Bastidas

Men’s Pro 1-Wall Big Ball Singles: Timbo Gonzalez

Men’s Pro 1-Wall Big Ball Doubles: Timbo Gonzalez/Tywan Cook

Women’s Pro Singles: Tracy Davis

Women’s Pro 1-Wall Big Ball Singles: Danielle Daskalakis

Women’s Pro Doubles: Tracy Davis/Sandy Ng




Men’s Pro Big Ball Singles: Juan Santos

Men’s Pro Big Ball Doubles: Samzon Hernandez/Manny Sanchez

Men’s Pro Small Ball Singles: Nikolai Nahorniak

Men’s Pro Small Ball Doubles: Nikolai Nahorniak/Jurell Bastidas

Men’s Pro 1-Wall Small Ball Singles: Jurell Bastidas

Men’s Pro 1-Wall Big Ball Singles: Giovanni Vasquez

Men’s Pro 1-Wall Big Ball Doubles: Tywan Cook/Delbert Garnett

Women’s Pro Singles: Tanisha Groomes

Women’s Pro 1-Wall Big Ball Singles: Danielle Daskalakis

Women’s Pro Doubles: Tracy Davis/Sandy Ng

Mixed Big Ball Pro Doubles: Kevin Gonzalez/Tanisha Groomes




Men’s Pro Big Ball Singles: Juan Santos

Men’s Pro Big Ball Doubles: Samzon Hernandez/Edgar Olivar

Men’s Pro Small Ball Singles: Sean Lenning

Men’s Pro Small Ball Doubles: Sean Lenning/Shorty Ruiz

Men’s Pro 1-Wall Small Ball Singles: Luis Moreno

Men’s Pro 1-Wall Big Ball Singles: Timbo Gonzalez

Men’s Pro 1-Wall Big Ball Doubles: Kadeem Bush/Carlos

Women’s Pro Singles: Tanisha Groomes

Women’s Pro 1-Wall Big Ball Singles: Danielle Daskalakis

Women’s Pro Doubles: Sandy Ng/Tracy Davis

Mixed Big Ball Pro Doubles: Sal Duenas/Karina Arias



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