The NW Cup final results are in: Vancouver Tennis Association 23, Seattle Tennis Alliance 17, and Team Portland Tennis Association 9. Congratulations to Vancouver for winning NW Cup 2016 and for being a gracious host. They planned and coordinated a successful event! The rainbow colored shirts weren't planned during the photo shoot. But it turned out fabulous!!
It was a great showing for TPTA players at this year's Northwest Cup in Vancouver BC despite coming up short in the final tally and player roster. The six Portland players were John Hunter, Patrick Jou, Bernie Gasch, Butch Dela Cruz (captain), Claudia Ciobanu, and Scott Reis. Seven Vancouver players helped round out the rest of TPTA's line-up. Portland's wins came from six singles and three doubles with Vancouver players contributing to three of those wins. I must say how enthusiastic the Vancouver players were to play for Team Portland and our team really appreciated their passion and competitive friendly spirit.
Hunter won both of his singles matches against formidable Seattle and Vancouver players. Hunter played against a young, hard-hitting Vancouver opponent player from Ireland, running him around the tennis courts and wearing out the young lad. He also got sweet revenge by beating a Seattle foe he lost to last year. Hunter celebrated at Pumpjack with the boys later that evening buying a round of beer and bringing good cheer.
Hunter teamed up with Butch to play the number one position for doubles. Although they lost, their matches were competitive and fun. Hunter provided the strong groundstrokes (and slap stick humor) and Butch (laughed at Hunter's jokes) and provided his aggressive net play and defensive lobs while keeping his eye glasses from falling off his face.
Patrick also won both of his singles matches against a veteran Seattle NW Cup opponent and a newly recruited Vancouver player. His consistent loopy and spinny groundstrokes and ability to hit an extra shot diffused his opponents hard-hitting and aggressive play. Every time his opponents thought they'd hit a winning shot, Patrick got it back and turned it around to win the point! How does he do that?!
Claudia was a force to be reckoned with. Her consistency on the courts and ability to hit two forehands (yes she's ambidextrous!) showed the men that if they wanted to win they would have to play their best to beat her. During her singles match against Vancouver, Claudia was on the court for probably the longest singles match of the tournament. Although she lost her match to another veteran NW Cupper, Claudia matched his shots with brilliant shot making of her own. After her singles matches, Claudia was the talk of the tournament. Everyone asked, "who is that girl? She's an excellent tennis player!" Concur!!
Patrick and Claudia teamed up to play the number two doubles for Portland. It was amazing to watch the chemistry of these two players! They're a seasoned USTA mixed doubles team and it showed in how they played. Claudia wasn't deterred by their opponents constantly hitting at her. She stood her ground and during her groundstrokes rallies she set up shots for Patrick to pounce on at the net. They lost to the Vancouver team but it was a close one. Against Seattle, ahem...they won quite handily and both always smiling after every point.
Scott had intended on exploring Vancouver's tourist attractions. But he was asked to play to fill our line-up and Scott played really well against very strong Seattle and Vancouver players. Although he lost, Scott was very much in the match playing long rally points that gave him several game points and respect from his opponents. Several people watching his matches were impressed on how much his game has improved. Scott can definitely play big boy tennis and he proved himself in singles and doubles. To show him my appreciation for stepping it up for Team Portland and winning, I treated him to a delicious Hong Kong Cantonese style lunch in Richmond.
Bernie and Scott were a perfect combination for our number three doubles. This is the first time they played together in a tournament and effective communication would be key to their success. Bernie provided the hard serves and solid groundstrokes setting up Scott to poach and put away his volleys. They used hand signals and directed each other on the court, which they talked about the night before the match over drinks. It worked against a veteran Vancouver team, despite losing a close match. However, Bernie and Scott were in top form against a veteran Seattle team who have played with each other for years, winning the match decisively. It's a lethal combination when Bernie is booming his serves in and Scott with his albatross like reach is all over their opponent's returns at the net. I highly recommend these two as a doubles team for NW Cup 2017. For sure!
It will be Portland's turn to host NW Cup in June 2017. This year's players will automatically be selected as part of our NW Cup team for next year. We hope that other Portland players (especially our Pac Cup players) who couldn't make the trip to Vancouver BC will participate. Planning and practice starts now. Lets show Vancouver and Seattle that we're ready to take them on and we can host an awesome NW Cup event. Go Team Portland!!!
Until next year, kudos to Team Portland for a weekend of competitive tennis. It was my pleasure to captain a fun and enthusiastic team.
Butch Dela Cruz