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PHA Ultimate Handball Showdown, Seattle, Wash.

Peixoto presents the big check to Brady. Brady sets for a kill in the final. Priscilla Shumate got back in action at the showdown.

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 in Alaska."

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 in Seattle

 Chapman gets low for a backwall. Healy's on the run against Brady.

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 said.

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 I hit."

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 Seattle

 Munoz keeps his nose on the ball. Healy controlled Bike.

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 11-7.

 "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 in Seattle

 The cameras were filming the action. As Tati Silveyra pounds a kill against Ciaran Curran.

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 means business.

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.

Marjorie and Jim Peixoto welcome back Tati Silveyra to pro handball.

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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