Ultimate Handball Showdown, Seattle, Wash.
Ultimate Handball Showdown, Seatlle, Wash., Feb. 19-22.
Paul Brady picked the right time to defeat David Chapman for the very
first time. Holding back tears of joy, Brady put his face in a towel after rallying
from a 6-2 deficit to win 11-6 in the fourth game. The match was a great one,
with the first game to a two-point tiebreaker, (11-13), 6, 12-10, 6.
"I just wanted it really badly," Brady
said. "The win over David -- it means more to me to beat
the best player, best player of all time. But the money is nice,
too," Brady said with a grin.
"I always thought I could beat him but
deep down I had my doubts," Brady said. "I knew this
was the time – it had to be this year as I’m playing
my best ball ever."
Asked if the match a week ago in Dallas helped him
with his game plan, Brady said: "You learn something each time
you play him, but he does so many different things."
Then the emotion got to him: "I'm very happy I've
proven myself today," Brady said as the crowd cheered.
Chapman was gracious in his loss. "He played great,"
Chapman said. "I got to give it up to him. If I could have won
that third game I could have done it but I went for a pass at
10-8 instead of shooting. Then, he didn't miss a shot all day."
Chapman was very happy about the week and his biggest
payday. "It’s great for handball," Chapman said. "It’s
a great event for handball. A great event for the sport," Chapman
said. And, then he gave a final warning: "But I will win
Jim Peixoto presented the checks for the richest
purse in history. "This was the best match today and we
have raised the bar for professional handball," Jim said.
"Brady has played so well all week and every
match he showed he deserved this win," Peixoto said as he
presented Brady with a four-foot check for $50,000.
Everyone was impressed with the great show in Seattle
and was looking forward to attending or reading about the next
weekend’s play in Anchorage.
In the third –place match that offered $12,000
to the winner and $8,000 to the runner-up, Naty Alvarado beat
Tony Healy in three games, 3, 6, 2. "I had more control
today," Naty said. In the post-game interview, Naty was
appreciative of the film crew. "The camera people have been
doing a great job all weekend," Naty said of the action
he saw on the television cameras.
"I was tired today and my arm was hurting," Healy
said. "Naty was intimidating with his speed," Tony
complimented his opponent. "It was great to be here this
week and we’re looking forward to moving forward."
In the women’s match, Priscilla Shumate overcame
some early rustiness to defeat Courtney Peixoto in four games,
(9), 14-12, 3, 7. Priscilla was happy to be back in a competitive
match after a 14-month layoff due to a shoulder operation. "I’ve
been doing some other things to stay in shape and I’ve
been trying to play handball for the fun of it now."
Final Results: (11-point games) David
Chapman (St. Louis) d. Dessie Keegan (Roscommon, Ire.), 7, 6,
9; Eoin Kennedy (Dublin, Ire.) d. Tyler Hamel (Houston), 4,
8, 1; Naty Alvarado Jr. (Hesperia) d. Danny Bell (Quebec), 7,
4, 1; Vince Munoz (Commerce) d. Norm Dunne (San Jose), 3, 5
(9), 2; John Bike Jr. (Hesperia) d. Sean Lenning (Seattle),
7 (8), 8, 2; Tony Healy (Cork, Ire.) d. Marcos Chavez (Buena
Park, CA), 2, 4, 1; Tati Silveyra (Los Angeles) d. Ciaran Curran
(Tyrone, Ire.), 6, 5, (3), 3; Paul Brady (Cavan, Ire.) d. Emmett
Peixoto (Watsonville), 3, 5, 6.
Quarterfinals: Chapman d. Kennedy, 0, 12-10, 7;
Alvarado d. Munoz, 6, (2), 13-11, (9), 9; Brady d. Silveyra,
5, 8, 5; Healy d. Bike, 3, 3, 6.
Semifinals: Chapman d. Alvarado, 0 (5), 6, 5;
Brady d. Healy, 4, 2, 4.
Final: Brady d. Chapman, 11-13, 6, 12-10, 6.
Saturday Results from the Ultimate Showdown
For the second week in a row, it’s David Chapman
vs. Paul Brady in the final. But this time it’s for a
$25,000 difference, rather than $1,000.
David Chapman outlasted Naty Alvarado Jr. in four
games and Paul Brady pounded countryman Tony Healy in three.
"He’s (Alvarado) a great player and it’s
great to have him back in action," Chapman said. "It’s
my third tournament in a row and I was tournament ready," Chapman
Still Chapman wasn’t so sure of himself today. "Naty
can get hot and when he’s making shots he’s better
than anybody," Chapman said. As for the biggest prize in
handball history tomorrow, Chapman is more confident. "I
feel real good about tomorrow and I love beating the Irish," he
said. "I’ve been working out three days a week with
the toughest personal trainer in the country."
Alvarado also felt it came down to stamina. "I’m
going to have to start training with David," Alvarado
said afterward. "I couldn’t maintain the pace. It’s
been a year since I played this kind of competition."
The other semifinal was between to Irishmen. Paul
Brady said he "wanted it more." The current world
champ considers himself on a mission and his impressive three-game
win over Tony Healy made a clear statement. It wasn’t
always that way as Healy was the former Irish champ. "He
(Healy) set the standard and I’ve had him to learn from," Brady
said. He’s (Healy) a great friend, but what are you going
to do?" Brady said when asked about the no-nonsense approach
to the match.
The Irish success in the past couple of years is
no surprise to Healy with the five players in the showdown. "The
world’s a smaller place now," Healy said. "We’ve
had a lot of good players over the years but when Paul and I started
coming over and competing and having success, others learned it
was possible and the trip wasn’t so hard. The whole standard
has come up in Ireland as we’ve had three different national
champions in each of the last three years."
Asked about the final, Brady said: "I’m
going to treat it like just another game, put the money out my
mind and just try to win, so I can be the best player in the world."
Healy was gracious after his loss, crediting Brady’s
great play. "Brady dominated me right from the start," Healy
said. "The pace was too fast for me," Healy said. "My
return of serve was very poor and he was on top of everything
There were two exhibition matches on Saturday.
Luis Moreno maintained his advantage over Suhn Lee with a three-game
win in the 15-and-under match. In the collegiate exhibition,
Allan Garner edged Ricardo Diaz in a five-game struggle that
put the second semifinal between Chapman and Alvarado behind
a half hour.
The Women’s exhibition between Priscilla Shumate
and Courtney Peixoto will be held on Sunday between the third
place and final playoffs.
Friday Results from the Ultimate Showdown in
The first match of the day on Friday was what the fans
were waiting for. Naty Alvarado Jr. rallied to defeat Vince
Munoz in the first game match of the Ultimate Handball Showdown. "I’m
back," Naty exclaimed after rallying from 9-2 in the fifth
and deciding game. Pumping his arms in the air, the emotion
was tremendous as the fans were clearly pulling for him.
The fifth game wasn’t the only one that featured
a turnaround. Munoz was up 6-2 in the first but Alvarado won 11-6.
Munoz had no letup in the second and won 11-2. In the third, Alvarado
led 9-4 but Munoz went ahead 11-10. In the first game to be decided
by the "win-by-two" PHA rule, Alvarado came back into
serve and scored three straight for the win. It looked like the
match was over when Naty led 9-4 in the fourth, but Munoz roared
back for an 11-9 win to force a fifth game. Still on a roll, Munoz
led 9-2 in the fifth when the momentum switched for the final
time. Alvarado served and shot to advance, 11-9.
"That match was the highlight of my career," Alvarado
said in the post-match interview. "There was a lot riding
on it and I had to make a big comeback."
Paul Brady was on top of his game and especially
his serve against Tati Silveyra. "I knew what kind of
player he was and knew I had to keep him down and not let him
get on a roll," Brady said afterward. It was clear Brady
had great respect for Silveyra. "You could see his shots
were just a little off and if he had a few more events with
this competition, he’d be a different player."
Brady had been studying videotapes of Silveyra’s
hey-day and said that "His (Tati’s) power got my
attention real fast."
The big difference in today’s match was Brady’s
exceptional serve. "Normally, I don’t serve as well
as I did today," Brady said. "I’ve been working
on it and I hope I can keep it going over the weekend."
Tony Healy controlled John Bike throughout their
three-game match. "I came up short at the nationals," Healy
said, referring to Bike’s title win in June in three games. "I
was really fired up as soon as I knew we’d be playing.
This event has been penciled in as my goal since the beginning
of the season. John’s so strong and I knew I had to be
prepared for every point."
It was quite a change from their grueling tiebreaker
at the nationals and Healy credited his success to execution. "I
wanted to finish rallies sooner today and my execution was good," Healy
said. "I didn’t want to give him any aces and I
don’t think he got one in the entire match."
The final match of the day had the fans and cameramen
in awe of how low David Chapman let the ball drop off the backwall. "This
guy’s not human," said one of the cameramen as he
watched Chapman hook a ball into Eoin Kennedy’s belly.
After dropping the first game 11-0, Kennedy rallied to push
Chapman in the second and third games before falling 12-10 and
"I felt great the whole match," Chapman
said. "I got off to a great start and he was way off in
the first game."
Kennedy righted himself in the second game and
took the lead. Down 10-6 in the second, Chapman stormed back
to win 12-10. "I wanted to give the fans something to
cheer about," Chapman said of his comeback.
Thursday Results from the Ultimate Showdown
The seeding held up through most of the action
on Thursday during the first day of play at the richest tournament
in the history of the sport.
You had to go to No. 9 Eoin Kennedy beating No. 8
Tyler Hamel to find an upset as everyone came ready to play. Top-seeded
David Chapman is 20 pounds lighter than six months ago and certainly
No. 2 John Bike had his hands full with local hopeful
Sean Lenning, 18, but prevailed in four games. Not one contest
needed the "win by two" rule but Friday’s matches
should see some very close contests. Chapman will face Kennedy,
who took the No. 1 ranked player to a tiebreaker in Dallas a week
ago. Vince Munoz and Naty Alvarado have had some great duels over
the years but not recently as Alvarado has taken a hiatus from
the tour. "Naty’s ready," Naty Sr. said. "He’s
been working really hard."
In a rematch of the national final, Bike will square
off against Tony Healy. And world champ Paul Brady will face
former U.S. National champ Tati Silveyra. "I’m in
shape," Tati said. "But I haven’t been playing
the best competition."
Friday could be the most exciting day of handball
of the year.
Ultimate Showdown Reception at the WAC in Seattle.
The Ultimate Handball Showdown, Washington AC,
Seattle, Feb. 19-22. Action will get underway at 9 a.m.
on Thursday in the richest (by far) handball event ever. Up
for grabs is $135,000 in prize money with $50,000 going to the
winner in the Professional Handball Association's main event.
David Chapman thinks the big prize is his for the
taking while five Irishmen have made the long trip and effort
to qualify. Chapman meets his first Irish opponent in the round
of 16, current collegiate champ Dessie Keegan.
There are some interesting matchups in addition to
the Chapman/Keegan effort. "I beat Naty Jr. the last time
we played here," Danny Bell said. "And I’ve
been training really hard and my elbow is in good shape now. I’ve
event hit a few reverses."
Here are the pairings: David Chapman vs. Dessie
Keegan Eoin Kennedy vs. Tyler Hamel Naty Alvarado Jr. vs. Danny
Bell Vince Munoz vs. Norm Dunne John Bike Jr. vs. Sean Lenning
Tony Healy vs. Marcos Chavez Tati Silveyra vs. Ciaran Curran
Paul Brady vs. Emmett Peixoto
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