BUOYED by the success of the two-day polo festival he generously sponsored, patron Mikee Romero of Globalport plans to launch a bigger and much tougher international tournament next year to be dubbed `Philippine Open 2014.’
“For sure, it’s going to be a much bigger tournament, and of course, a tougher one,” said Romero. “Patrons from China, Singapore and Thailand have called expressing their desire to come and play competitive polo in the country.”
The historic back-to-back events held at the Alabang Country Club field, according to Romero, have given the patrons a clear idea that the sport of polo in the country is fast gaining popularity.
Organizing committee chair Sheila Romero and Hollywood producer Jun Juban, chair of Alabang’s polo committee, can attest to the rise of the sport in the country.
“We have so many emerging players these days and we have a big Sunday crowd,” the charming wife of the Globalport owner said. “A varied crowd came to witness the exciting match.”
Among those who watched the matches last Sunday were DLSU vice-chancellor Bro. Bernie Oca, Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia, Argentina Ambassador Joaquin Daniel-Otero, Bacolod Rep. Charlie Cojuangco, Cagayan Rep. Benjo Benaldo, Tim Yap, fashion designer Inno Sotto, Pepito Albert, Folded and Hung’s Ronald Pineda, Shoemart’s Kenner Chua and members of UAAP women’s volleyball champion La Salle.
The event, including the AirAsia Crystal Cup last Saturday, was presented by Maserati, Jaguar, Land Rover, Royal Salute, Medical City and Gatorade.
Thailand’s Kingpower Duty Free owner and 2007 SEAG bronze medalist Apichet Srivadraprabhana, responsible for bringing in three exciting Arentinian pros, vowed to come next year for the planned 10-day event where four to six teams will be vying for supremacy in a 12-14 goal tournament.
Others who have confirmed their participation in the grand event are China’s Tang Polo headed by China’s best polo player Shilai Lai and Singapore’s Ronnie Lee.
Also invited are Hong Kong’s Harilela family and Shanghai’s Brian Xiu.