Two in a row for PBI
The $100,000 World Cup was re-established by the Grand Champions Polo Club in 2017. Both of its two runnings have had the same winner: Palm Beach Illustrated. Last year, the team that had Jared Zenni, Santi Torres, Agustin Obregon and Tommy Collingwood took the title after defeating Valiente I by 13-7. Even if only Collingwood stayed in the team this year (joined by Carlitos Gracida, Juan Monteverde and Peco Polledo), the result was the same.
The final was held on Saturday, April 14, where PBI played against the 24-goal
Grand Champions (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Juan Martín Nero), which gave the team a 4 goal lead at the start. The young players managed to keep their lead at half-time, leaing 8-5. That is where JuanMa Nero's talent was evident, leading his team's comeback and tying the score at 9-all with 2:10 left on the clock.
PBI won the final throw-in. Collingwood (chosen as the MVP) hit a long shot, and Gracida (showing that he has the genes of his father) won the contest for the ball against Nero, striking a difficult crossed neck shot that managed to take his team to a 10-9 victory. GPCP only had enough time for a messy attack, which was stopped by a notable backhand from Monteverde.
QUOTES FROM GCPC
"We made this team in less than a week, a week before the entries were due. Terry Duffy came up and said we can put the team in, get some friends, play and call these guys up right away. They said yes, let's do it. We just focused and said let's go and win it. This team was so much fun, so much everything. The guys were awesome. This tournament was a lot of heart, sweat and now tears...happy tears”.
"What just happened? It was so close. The other team played amazingly. We did it. I am so happy. Playing against guys like Juanma Nero or Negro Novillo Astrada is a privilege. And beating them is something we will never forget."
"I still don't know what happened, what an amazing game. The only good back shot I hit all day was that one that saved us from going to extra chukker. I am very happy for the team. This is a great team."