Wellington, Fla. – March 5, 2018 – Altair Polo won its first tournament of the winter polo season with an impressive 11-7 victory over Patagones Saturday in the Top Pony 8-Goal final at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Altair Polo (Christian Weisz, 0, Keko Magrini, 1, Henry Porter, 2, Brandon Phillips, 5) led from start-to-finish and never relinquished its lead over Patagones (Santi Avendano, 1, Joaquin Avendano, 1/Anita Avendano, 0, Benjamin Avendano, 2, Robi Bilbao, 4).
Veteran player Brandon Phillips scored a game-high five goals and was named Most Valuable Player. Keka, an 8-year-old, played in the second chukker by Porter, was Best Playing Pony.
Phillips was the team’s field general working with three talented young players: Porter, 18, Weisz, 17 and Magrini, 12.
“The boys played really well,” Phillips said. “They are very talented, all of them. It was fun to play with them. We had a game plan and it was about keeping them on it. That’s my job, to do what we say we are going to do. When they do that, we do really well.”
Altair Polo finished this month’s 8-goal tournament undefeated at 4-0. Patagones finished 2-2. In their previous 8-goal final, Patagones defeated Altair Polo.
“It was good to get another shot at them,” Phillips said. “The thing that scared me was in their other games in this league at halftime we were the ones that were down that much and we came back to win. We always said that the thing that would scare us the most is if we were in the lead at halftime because we were always usually behind. It was good to be in the lead but also to know that it can switch on you pretty quick.”
Porter of Great Britain is enjoying his finest winter polo season in the U.S. competing at 20-, 12- and 8-goals. After finishing runner-up with GSA in the 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup, Porter is preparing for the $50,000 National 12-Goal tournament that gets underway Monday at Santa Rita Polo Farm. Porter is one of three players returning for defending champion GSA.
“I am very happy with my season,” Porter said. “Playing all the levels is good. In the 20, I was playing the No. 1 position, the guy that was always running forward. In the 8-goal, it teaches me to play more as the third player with Brandon at the back.”
Florida State-bound Christian Weisz filled in for team sponsor Ashley Busch, U.S. Polo Assn. Brand Ambassador, who was in Las Vegas with husband Kurt Busch competing at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Bilbao led Patagones with four goals. Santi Avendano had two goals and Benjamin Avendano added one goal.
The tournament winners were presented with original prints designed by Brazilian-born renowned artist Romero Britto of Miami Beach. The signed prints featured a polo player in full swing on a polo pony surrounded by a palm tree, heart and whimsical designs of color.