FIL-Am Anthony Garcia put on a dazzling performance, while patron Mikee Romero provided the defensive spunk as White Team ruled the first-ever AirAsia’s Crystal Cup high-goal with a two-game sweep Saturday at Alabang Country Club Field.
A five-goal player, Garcia finished the three-team single round tournament with seven goals – the most by any player to help his team beat the Red Team, 5-2.
They capped their dominating performance with a 4-1 win over the Black Team.
“The scores didn’t reflect how tough the games were. I have good horses coming from Mr. Romero and its sort of a home-court advantage for me having played here before. Having a good horse and familiarity of the place helps,” said the 32-year old Garcia who scored four goals in their first game and three more in the second game.
Competition was held in two chukkers with Red Team spearheaded by Anthony’s brother Adrian Garcia winning second place with a 4-1 victory over Red Team.
“It’ really a fulfilling day,” said Romero who is sponsoring the two-day Polo Festival.
“The win is just a bonus because the real winners are the polo players, especially the new players. My goal in this tournament is to give new players the exposure they need to get better and I think we achieved that purpose,” added Romero who also scored a goal in the team's victory against the Red Squad.
The other members of the White Team were Thai Ploy Bhinsaeng and British Jake Gordon.
Eduardo Lopez, 15, shared the limelight with Garcia and Romero by leading his own White Team to victory over the Red Team in the low goal division, 7-4.
Lopez, who is making a comeback in the sport after his short love affair with football, turned out to be a savior for his team as he scored two crucial goals in the fifth and final chukker that broke the 4-4 standoff.
“I started playing polo again starting this year and was not really expecting to do well,” said Lopez, a student of La Salle Zobel who drew inspiration from the support of his parents, Bertie and Lorna, who are also polo players.
Lopez’s teammates were Lars and Kimberly Lofgren, Butch Albert and actor Diether Ocampo while the Red Team was made up of Freddie Borromeo, Dary Matti, Jam, Nicole and Massu Eusebio.
“This is my first time to compete and it’s an exciting game. Like to thank Mikee for holding this tournament for new players and hope more tournaments will be held in the future,” said Ocampo.