20 – CONEY ISLAND SINGLES – 13
By Ben Brighton
The official opening of the handball season began with Albert Apuzzi’s open small ball singles tournament at the famed Seaside Handball Courts in Coney Island.
While a few elite players were absent, a great meal is measured by the ingredients you put in not leave out.
In the round of 16 number one seed Tyree Bastidas beat Paulie Angel 25-14 in an entertaining contest. Big ball superstar Givonni “Gio” Vazquez defeated Zeav Robbins 25-8 Before falling , in the quarters, to Tyree 25-18. Whether winning or arguing with the officials Gio is never boring. Youngsters Eric Kim and Vlad Klym were like two boxers slugging it out with powerful rallies. Eric held off a late attack by Vlad and prevailed 25-20, then fell to Robert Lee 25-7. In the lower half of the draw Coney Island favorite Cesar Sala walked a tightrope in his first match. Down 18-23 he rebounded to defeat Miguel Cano 25-23 before falling to Jurell Bastidas 25-15. Mike Schneider Jr and Saul Gonzalez, two promising youngsters to watch, battled hard with Mike emerging with a 25-22 victory.
In the semifinals Schneider ran into Jurell who was a serving machine and lost 25-2 while Tyree defeated Robert Lee by an identical 25-2 score.
That set up an all brothers final. At 6-7 the older brother fell to the ground with a sprained ankle. Not wanting to disappoint the spectators, he resumed playing. Noticeably hobbled Jurell battled back but lost 25-18 to his younger brother.
As I watched the brothers there seemed to be no sibling rivalry. That’s especially noteworthy when considering that the younger Tyree is the more famous an acclaimed start. However, Jurell looks vastly improved and displayed the most devastating serve in the tournament. An all brothers final at the upcoming USHA Nationals is an intriguing possibility.
Q - How did you find out about the Boston Open?
A - I heard this tournament is very competitive and my friends encouraged me to come and play.
Q – What was the main reason to come to the Boston Open?
A - I want to get more experience and exposure at the open level. I need to bring my game to a higher level.
Q – Your game is already at the open level. What do you mean by that?
A – I mean, I need to become more offensive (aggressive). In Ireland we have a defensive attitude in our game. Here in America, the players are more aggressive and that’s an advantage.
Q – What make you think you need to be aggressive to be a better player?
A – Look at Charly Shank. When he came to America he was a good player and most of his opponents used to beat him at the beginning. Now, he has changed his attitude from defensive to offensive (aggressive) and has become a top player in the U.S.
Paul Brady’s attitude has also changed. That’s why he is the champion.
Q – Would you like to come to the 1-wall nationals in the future?
Yes, but right now I want to focus on 4-wall and play in the USHA 4-wall nationals.
Q – What are your plans for the future?
I would like to play in the WPH Pro tour but I don’t have the money. I need to get sponsors first. I’m hoping someone notice and appreciate my skills.
The Bayside Commodores flexed their muscles once again. As heavy favorites this year they weren’t going to go home with anything less than the gold but it wasn’t easy as Francis Lewis had a lot to say about their chances in this match.
Lewis got things started by calling second singles You Jen Chang who took on Philip Michaelides. The match was close to the ten point mark when Chang made his rally and closed the match with a 21-12 victory giving Lewis a 1-0 lead.
Bayside countered with the best doubles team in the city, 2013 Invitational Tournament Champions Leonardo Lazala & Aaron Khemcharoen. They were cruising taking a 17-4 lead before Francis Lewis Brandon Lau & Carlos Zapata mounted a comeback. They tallied 11 points in a row but felt short of the comeback as Bayside was able to tie the match 1-1 with 21-17 victory.
Lewis called third singles Mathew Lipke who took off to a quick start and never looked back. Jong Zie Loke kept the match close up to the eight points mark but was never really threat as Lipke simply took control of the match and gave Francis Lewis a 2-1 lead with a quick 21-12 victory.
D. Vincent has been credited for bringing new changes to the game either by changing the rules of the game or by using technology and innovative ways to promote handball.
There is no doubt Mr. Vincent, the Executive Director from the WPH based in Arizona, is a man with a new vision who has revolutionized the handball world in the west. But, can New York use a guy like him?
Mr. Vincent has been open about his intentions to relocate to NY in the future hoping to have as much success as he’s had in the West.
Perhaps Mr. Vincent thinks he is going to organize a handball tournament once or twice a month, the same way he’s done it before. He is wrong. This is New York, where there are more handball players and handball courts than any other state.
With so many players and tournaments going on every week, Mr. Vincent wouldn’t have the time to organize and run tournaments. New Yorkers couldn’t use a guy like D. Vincent. Perhaps New Yorkers can use two D. Vincents.
Photo by PSAL
Jenny Qu did it again and with ease and simplicity. She made the Individual championship look easy on June 8, 2013. Displaying her signature serve, calm presence and fierce poise she simply did not break a sweat.
After a first round bye she mowed her way through the bracket by defeating Jennifer Chow (Francis Lewis) 21 – 3, Melanie Garate (Midwood) 21 – 11, Jessenia Garate (Midwood) 21 – 1. In the finals, Jenny faced 2013 Invitational third place Lily Fung (Fort Hamilton).
Lily advanced to the finals with little trouble herself. After a first round bye she defeated Ting Kai Yang (Brooklyn Technical) 21 – 7, Jessica Sim (Bayside) 21 – 16, and Olivia Kyi (Midwood) 21 – 12. In the finals Jenny proved to be too much for Lily. She powered herself through the match with strong serves taking an 8 – 1 commanding lead and finally winning 21 – 6.
She also joins an exclusive club of grand slam champions by conquering all major handball events in the same year (Invitational Championship, Individual Championship, City Championship and PSAL/Wingate Award). Congratulations to Jenny Qu and the Bayside Commodores on becoming the 2013 Girls Singles Individual Champion.