Jai Alai: The Usual Suspects – Lopez and Recalde by frontonnews
January 25, 2009, 11:49 am
Filed under: Jai Alai | Tags: ,

Last night was the big show – with the best players in the United States facing off at the 20th Annual Citrus tournament, held at the Orlando Fronton, in Florida. Game 14 was the Citrus Championship Doubles Match, played to 10 straight points (as always).

The teams saved their best for last with the play fast and furious. Winning the game for the second straight year was the team of Recalde and Lopez, who were one of three teams representing Miami Jai Alai and had started out the game with seven straight points for a dominating lead. If there was any doubt as to who has the strongest roster, it was put to rest this evening, with all 3 Miami teams finishing one-two-three. World champion powerhouse Goico, teamed with Irastorza, finished second and Arrasate/Erkiaga came in third. Payoffs were, as expected, very low:

Fourteenth (Doubles, 10 pts.)
5 Rekalde-Lopez 6.20 3.20 2.20
7 Goichoetxea-Irastorza 3.80 2.60
2 Arrasate-Erkiaga 2.60
4 Diego-Enbil
Quiniela 5-7 $8.20
Perfecta 5-7 $24.80
Trifecta 5-7-2 $58.00
Superfecta 5-7-2-4 $265.20
.10 Superfecta 5-7-2-4 $13.20

There were many great points during the game, which lasted 33 minutes, bringing the capacity crowd to it’s feet on numerous occasions. One involved the team of Solozabal/Oyarbide and the champions.

Recalde/Lopez were at nine points and at match point, and they played very aggressively, throwing big heat and moving the ball all over the cancha – but there were a series of wild saves (including 2 fall down rebotes by Solozabal) which kept the point alive and was finally won by Solozabal/Oyarbide, with the crowd going wild. Although temporarily seated, Recalde/Lopez came back up again against another Dania team – Diego/Enbil, and finally prevailed to claim the title.

All in all, some of the best cesta punta played on the planet.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH:

Without a doubt, Lopez is a monster. He catches everything, can throw all the shots, covers the court well, communicates and motivates his partner, and finally – throws with a terrible ferocity. I don’t know if there is a better backcourter in the world (with all due respect to Irastorza and Enbil) and maybe, just maybe – he might be the best overall player (sorry Goico)

Goico was shut out of the titles (a rarity for him) with Solozabal and Irastorza taking the singles and Recalde/Lopez dominating the doubles.

A great day to be a fan of jai alai!