Sebucan Wins Polo Gear Challenge Cup; Juancito Bollini Named MVP

0X8A9865.JPG

WELLINGTON, Fl.—May 20, 2019----On a beautiful day for polo, Sebucan won its first tournament of the spring season Sunday in front of a good crowd at Grand Champions Polo Club.

Sebucan (Pablo Pulido, 2, Juancito Bollini, 2, Pablo Spinacci, 6, Jarred Zenni, 6) won the Polo Gear Challenge Cup, one of the club's oldest tournaments, with a hardfought 11-9 victory over Dutta Corp (Carlitos Gracida, 4, Tommy Collingwood, 5, Timmy Dutta, 2, Kris Kampsen, 6) in its spring tournament debut.

Bollini, 23, was selected Most Valuable Player after an outstanding game. The Florida Atlantic University graduate scored a game-high five goals, including four in the second half.

"I think this team has a really good system," Bollini said. "We all kind of play the same. We have a good connection and chemistry. This is the first time I have played with Jared and we really connect, so I'm happy about that."

Zenni, 23, a senior at University of Miami making his Grand Champions spring debut, and Bollini have won two tournaments.

M4, a 5-year-old stallion bred and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm and played by Spinacci in the second and fifth chukkers, was Grand Champions Best Playing Pony.

Dutta Corp started out with a 1-0 lead on handicap. Sebucan quickly tied the game on Zenni's 100-yard goal with 6:13 left. Sebucan added two more goals from Spinacci and Bollini for a 3-1 lead going into the second chukker.

Dutta Corp took advantage of Sebucan's three missed goals in the second chukker. Gracida scored two goals at the 4:30 mark and again with 31 seconds left to tie the game, 3-3.

Sebucan, playing tight defense, regained its momentum in the third chukker. Zenni converted a 60-yard penalty to enable Sebucan to regain the lead, 4-3. Sebucan never trailed after that. Zenni scored again, this time from the field with 3:56 and Spinacci added another goal at 1:09 for a 6-3 lead late in the third chukker. 

Sebucan led by as many as four, 10-6, when Bollini caught defenders off-guard, stole the ball and raced to goal undefended late in the fifth chukker.

Dutta Corp got within two goals (6-4 to end the third chukker and 7-5 and 8-6 in the fourth chukker and 10-8 in the sixth) and trailed by only one, 10-9, after Collingwood took a back shot from Kampsen and scored with 3:57 left in the sixth chukker. Less than a minute later Sebucan came right back when Zenni won the throw-in and passed to Bollini who scored to give his team an 11-9 lead.

Sebucan's defense continued to play tough until the end. Bollini came up with a steal picking the ball out of the air in the final two minutes. Zenni then came up with another steal with 39 seconds left and Pulido ran out the clock.

"I think the key was the anticipation of our man," Bollini said. "They were well-mounted. Carlitos has really good, fast horses. By anticipating, we were able to play well on defense." 

Also scoring for Sebucan, Zenni had four goals and Spinacci added two goals. Gracida and Kampsen shared scoring honors for Dutta Corp, each with three goals, and Collingwood added two.

"The team played very well," Pulido said. "Juancito had a great game. Every ball he got he did a nice approach to goal and either scored or was just about to score.

"We knew they were a good four-man team and it was going to be a tough game," Pulido said. "It was an open game. We just decided to stay with the man and it turned out well."

Sebucan's last tournament win was during the winter season in February in the Sieber 12-Goal Memorial Tournament. Sebucan (Juanse Olivera, 1, Pablo Pulido, 2, Juan Lalor, 4, Robertito Zedda, 4) knocked off defending champion Patagones (Santi Wulff, 5, Benjamin Avendano, 3, Joaquin Avendano, 2, Santiago Avendano, 1) for a thrilling 8-7 victory. 

In the Just For The Thrill Of It subsidiary final, Palm Beach Equine (Brandon Phillips, 4, Nic Roldan, 8, Juan Bollini, 5, Scott Swerdlin, 0) edged Audi (Bauti Andrada, 1, Sugar Erskine, 6, Marc Ganzi, 2, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8), 6-5. 

Swerdlin scored a game-high three goals for Palm Beach Equine. Phillips, Roldan and Bollini each had one goal.

Andrada, filling in for Grant Ganzi, and Marc Ganzi shared scoring honors for Audi, each with two goals. Astrada added one goal.

Palm Beach Equine controlled most of the low-scoring game. Roldan's tight angled neck shot from the coffin corner gave Palm Beach Equine a 3-1 halftime lead. Bollini's goal early in the fourth chukker gave his team a 4-1 advantage before Audi started to claw its way back into contention.

Andrada scored back-to-back goals late in the fourth chukker and early in the fifth chukker to trail, 4-3. Ganzi's end-to-end goal run with 3:29 tied the game, 4-4. Bollini then connected with Phillips for a goal to regain the lead, 5-4. Ganzi converted a 30-yard penalty to tie the game again, 5-5, with 1:03 left in the fifth. 

Swerdlin scored early in the sixth chukker with what turned out to be the winning and only goal in the final chukker. Audi had its share of scoring opportunities but couldn't capitalize.

Sebucan joins other spring tournament champions Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta, 2, Carlitos Gracida, 4, Kris Kampsen, 6, Jared Zenni, 6) in the Sun Cup for a club record fourth time and Aspen Valley (Pablo Pulido, 2, Juancito Bollini, 4, Grant Ganzi, 3, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8) in the Spring Challenge Cup. 

Last year's Polo Gear Challenge Cup was rained out. In the 2017 spring Polo Gear Challenge Cup, 11-goal Dutta Corp (Carlitos Gracida, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Tim Dutta) won 11-7 over 16-goal Newport (Gene Goldstein, Marc Ganzi, Lucas Lalor, Julio Arellano). 

Polo Gear, one of the sport's top sponsors, was established in 1993 and incorporated in Florida. It manufactures, distributes and sells polo products to players, teams and polo events worldwide. It is the premier retailer for all necessary clothing, accessories, safety equipment and polo saddles for the polo enthusiasts of all ages. For more information on Polo Gear and to order products, visit www.pologearusa.net or at 3500 Fairlane Farms Road, Suite 15, Wellington.

The final two tournaments of the spring season is the May 24-26 Santa Rita Abierto and May 27 The Memorial.

The spring season is being live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV.

Grand Champions fall, winter and spring tournaments attract a large international field of players from all corners of the world  including India, Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Venezuela and England.

Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels and ages. Its' expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its' Polo On Demand program, created by Grand Champions President Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened in 2007.

The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. Headed by Director of Operations Juan Bollini, The Polo School has nurtured several men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.