From l: Jurell and Tyree Bastidas, Victor Lo Pierre and Alvaro Rebaza
Photo by Albert Apuzzi
by Ben Brighton
Local sports fans spent Sunday afternoon watching our football teams, sorrowful over the knowledge that the Jets and Giants are eliminated before Thanksgiving turkey has been carved. On Monday morning they could have read in the papers how these millionaire athletes play with “heart”. Or they could have made the journey to the McBurney YMCA in Manhattan, whose lavish facilities hosted a 1-wall handball doubles championship.
Some of the exciting earlier round matches include current National Master Champions George Figueroa & Tony Roberts came back from a 24-20 deficit to defeat Ronal Jemal Florez & Allan Sanchez 25-24 in the opening round, Michael Kenny Ngai & Johnny Velez giving Joe Kaplan & Cesar Sala a run for their money before falling 25-18 & most of all, the 25-23 quarterfinal victory of Tywan Cook & Carlin Rosa over the current National Champions Willie Polanco & Mike Schneider Jr.
The semis and final were less exciting with the Bastidas brothers handing Kaplan & Sala a crushing 25-8 loss while Lo Pierre & Rebaza ended Cook & Rosa’s dream ride 25-18? The final was all team Bastidas as Alvaro & Victor were only able to score 8 points.
The brothers were not to be denied as they won in dominating fashion. Their styles are
completely different. Tyree often freelances, displaying his athleticism and crowd pleasing play. Jurell, from the right side, was dominant all day, with his serves, drives and killshots. The flashy style of Tyree meshes perfectly with Jurell’s fundamentally sound and solid style to produce winning results.
One can only wonder what the next decade will produce and if these brothers will take their place alongside the Oberts in the record books.
Thanks to Albert, the players and the McBurney YMCA. And to all, a happy Thanksgiving.
We would like to believe the best players of the game would also be the best referees. But unfortunately it does not work that way, at least not in the four-wall game where all-time record holder and perhaps the best 4-wall player, Naty Alvarado Sr. was never seen as a top referee. In fact, he barely made the list among the best referees*.
*The following article is from the spring 1985 USHA magazine (page 43).
How the Pros Rated the Pros as Refs.
After the Atlanta pro stop, the pro players were asked to rank the other pros as referees. The referee ranking is being used to choose the best referee available for the semifinals and finals of each pro stop.
1. Fred Lewis
2. Vern Roberts
3. Bob Blinski
4. Jaime Paredes
5. John Sabo
6. Mike Gardner
7. Dave Dohman
8. Jon Kendler
9. Dennis Hofflander10. Naty Alvarado
Photo by WPH
Every year players look forward to rack up points either for the Player’s Championship Race or for the Grand National Series. It’s the best opportunity to tally up the most points by playing in a variety of events only offered at these events where players are allowed to play in multiple events. Major Achievement: Tanisha Groomes and Nick Nahorniack are the only players who slammed this year. Record Participation: This year there were 281 players participating.
No player has ever repeated in the 3- & 1-wall small ball men’s singles open division.
WPH 3-Wallball World Championships – Three-Wall Men’s Singles Pro
2010 – Dave Chapman (MO) defeated Luis Moreno (AZ)
2011 – Braulio Ruiz (CA) defeated Sean Lenning (WA)
2012 – Luis Moreno (AZ) defeated Braulio Ruiz (CA)
2013 – Jurell Bastidas (NY) defeated Emmett Peixoto (CA)
2014 – Nick Nahorniack (IL) defeated Emmett Peixoto (CA)
WPH 3-Wallball World Championships – One-Wall Men’s Singles Pro.
2012 John Wright (NY) defeated Yuber Castro (NY)
2013 Tyree Bastidas (NY) defeated Jurell Bastidas (NY)
2014 Jurell Bastidas (NY) defeated Gio Vasquez (NY)
There is nothing more exciting than winning the most events in any handball competition. Such is the case of Michael Ngai, who has competed in ICHA events since he was in high school. He has been very successful in winning events in almost every ICHA handball tournament offered.
Some of Michael Ngai’s winnings include victories in the H.S. Spring Meet, Mayor’s Cup, PSAL and now, the Long Island Open which is a four-wall handball tournament. But how good is this kid?
He is good enough to take on anyone his age and handball level. We did let him know that he’s won more than two events at the LIO in the same year, something Tyree has not done yet.
“Tyree hasn’t done it because ICHA never offered the opportunity to play in more than two events in the past” Michael Ngai said.
“I can’t wait for Tyree to play big ball 4-wall events”
Photos by WPH
Every time and everywhere Tyree is scheduled to play, people seem to gather around to watch his games no matter what handball version or ball he uses. Whether he plays on the East Coast or on the West Coast, people seem to follow him no matter what. But do they follow him to watch him win or to watch him lose?
Bastidas, a small ball specialist, usually draws a big audience when playing his game, but when he plays at the King of the Courts big ball tournament he seems to draw even more people to watch his games.
Recently, Tyree Bastidas traveled to California to challenge the best big ball players of the 3-wall (short walls) game where he had performed beyond expectations in the past two years. And even though his last match was unexpectedly and swiftly moved from the main court to the other side of the main court, people still followed him to watch him play in a game he never practices or competes.
At the same time we were surprised to find out that the 1-wall big ball game played among national 1-wall big ball champion, Timothy Gonzalez and current 3-wall (short walls) big ball champion, Juan Santos (see photo above), was hardly watched even though their game was played on the main court.
It seems that no matter where Tyree’s games are played, people will always follow him to watch him play. But do they follow him to watch him win or to watch him lose? - You be the Judge!