Finals Sunday featured the completion of all divisions at the Back 2 School Bash, with 3-Wall Big Ball’s top A, B, Doubles, and junior players displaying sensational skill at Huntington Beach’s Marina Park’s. Players in the Men’s A and B Singles and A and B Doubles were solidifying their ranking spots for the WPH/WOR 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships in Las Vegas, September 24th-27th (entry here), with the Back 2 School Bash producing significant movement in the rankings. Junior players stole the show on Sunday, as 75 youngsters between the ages of 9-18 dazzled the large crowds at Marina Park with outstanding shot making and an incredibly high level of play.
To follow the draws and results from Marina Park, HERE>
Long regarded as one of the most talented players on the WPH Outdoor circuit, Alfredo “El Hombre” Morales proved that he belonged among the best in the 3-Wall Big Ball sport at Marina Park. Morales advanced to the Back 2 School finals without dropping a game, defeating 2014 WPH 3WallBall third-place finisher and WPH #1 contender Chris “Left Hook” Tojin, WPH Outdoor #1 Samzon Hernandez, and 2015 Xrossover 3-Wall Big Ball champion Lobo Valencia. Reigning WPH Outdoor Cup champion Juan Santos advanced to the final despite not playing his best handball, defeating Edgar Vizcaino in his first round, narrowly avoiding an upset against former “Fab 4” member Rudy Cruz in the quarterfinals and outlasting Vic Duran in the semifinal.
Santos attacked “El Hombre” early in game one, building a 5-0 lead with just 12 swings. Santos mixed errors and kill throughout the remainder of game one, capturing a one-game lead, 15-10. Santos continued to dictate play in game two, mixing lobs with corner kills and reaching match point, 14-9. Morales made a late rally, re killing two Santos kill shot attempts and closing the gap to just 13-14. Santos clinched his second title of the 2015 WPH Outdoor Cup season with his trademark right-handed left corner kill.
Santos defeats Morales 15-10, 15-13.
Samzon Hernandez and Sal Duenas uncharacteristically struggled in the Back 2 School singles, but channeled their frustrations in the doubles. Recognizing the importance of the combined singles and doubles rankings in the Hemborg Ford Cup standing, Team Sam/Wiz survived a first round scare and caught fire thereafter, cruising to the final. Orange County’s Juan Santos and Kevin Gonzalez demonstrated their tremendous doubles chemistry in the bottom half of the Back 2 School doubles draw, dropping just one game en route to the final.
Santos slammed the Back 2 School Bash with partner Kevin Gonzalez with surprising ease, needing just 16 minutes to dispatch of “The Machine” and “The Wizard.”
Team Santos/Gonzalez defeats Samzon/Duenas 15-6, 15-5
The juniors stole the show at the Back 2 School Bash, inspiring and impressing the more than 300 players and fans in Marina Park. Perhaps most impressively, the juniors played the game with outstanding sportsmanship and passion for the game. Thanks to Lolita Tapia de Vincent, the winner of each junior division was awarded a back to school backpack filled with notebooks, pencils, calculators and other school supplies– Donated by Mrs Vincent. Thank you!
Jacob Marin defeated Jessie Barrientos to win the 10-and-under singles, as both players routinely returned balls from 10 feet behind the back line on Marina Park’s enormous courts. Jesus Mendez Jr. and Eddie Rocha continued their rivalry in the finals of the 13-and-under, with the two WPH Outdoor junior stars consistently engaging in outstanding 20-shot rallies. Mendez secured the victory over his rival, setting the stage for many great future showdowns. Oscar Sordia negotiated his way through the event’s largest bracket, outlasting Leonardo Castillo in the 16-and-under final in a bracket that featured 34 juniors between the ages of 14-16. Junior WPH’s Marco’s Kids star Andrew Garcia played flawlessly in the 20-and-under, defeating Angel Herrera to win the title.
Adrian Ortiz teamed with Brian Leal to win the 20-and-under junior doubles and Michael Bautista and Jesus Mendez teamed to win the 13-and-under doubles.
Top seeds Mikey Lomas and Carlos Marin dominated the Men’s B singles and doubles, advancing to the final of both as each player readies himself for the Men’s pro in the coming months. Carlos Marin captured the singles but was unable to slam, as Lomas teamed with WPH R48 #12 Jonathan Iglesias to down Marin and Ivan Chapa.
“I have to admit this,” says Jon Iglesias. “I’ve been to every possible handball event from around the globe and this by far was the most exciting tournament I’ve ever been too. Thanks to the WPH for making this one inspiring, competitive and energetic. You almost cracked 200 entries on your tenth birthday and I am impressed!”
3-Wall Big Ball legend Gollo Tellez met WPH Outdoor co-tournament manager Javi Flores in the Men’s 40s final. Having been two of the game’s best for nearly three decades, Tellez and Flores never met in singles until last year’s 3WallBall Championships.
Tellez and Flores battled to a 9-all tie in game one but the reminder of the match was all Tellez, as the 3-Wall Outdoor legend allowed just two more points in the final game and a half.
Tellez defeats Flores 15-9, 15-2
Thank you to Dave Vincent, David Fink, Jonathan Iglesias, Alley Cat, Alexia Lozano, Tanner Cleveland, Tom Flores, Javi Flores and many more who worked 16-hour days to ensure that nearly 200 players enjoyed a fantastic weekend at Marina Park.
The Junior WPH 3 Wall Big Ball California State Showdown-Back 2 School Bash and Hemborg Ford Cup Stop #4 was not broadcasted, but go to wphlive.tv, Like the World Players of Handball on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to follow all of the results from Southern California. To follow the draws and results from Marina Park, HERE>
WPH Senior Writer