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Killer night at Orlando!

Posted on January 7, 2006 at 01:29:58 AM by Jim

If you like longer games of jai alai, and some great points, tonight was your night at Orlando Jai Alai.

The crowd much tamer than they normally are. Orlando has a very vocal crowd, normally. And it was a much smaller than I thought it would be, but still, a nice size crowd...judge for yourself: the trifecta pool on the pay-out (after the fronton gets it cut) was around $750.00 on game 11.

I did not arrive until the end of game 8, so I can't comment on any of the early game players for tonight. Also, Robles was scratched. I guess I'll ramble on a bit here...won't always do this, but since I was there for the remaning games...may as well...lol.

Perhaps one of the best points of the night, a long one, was the 2nd point of game 9, when Laurent and Larru in post 1, served to post 3, Aperri and Goitiz. Several great catches by all, all over the court, eventually won by post 3. (They won the game, 2nd time in for a 3-7-4, after post 7 lost at perfect game point, Gallardo and Conrado.)

In fact, I bet Gallardo was aggravated tonight, because he played terrific in 3 consecutive doubles games, had 3 game points in each of those games, yet lost them all.

Overall, this night of jai alai was just terrific. I rarely leave in a state of surprise, but tonight, the guys really had their game.

Erik showed me something tonight. He has improved his forehand rebote, dramatically. I used to not see him try the shot too often, and we all know how tough that shot is to catch, let alone deal with, but he made some nice ones in game 10 singles, running a perfect game from post 8.

Game 11 was a good game. 3 teams had game point, before Barronio and Gino polished it off, 2nd time in. After looking a little off the mark....just a tad, after the long lay-off from Orlando, it only took Barronio 3 performances to find the groove. He nailed several kill shots for cold winners, and that forehand rebote of his is just so very well placed. It's my favorite shot of his. This man is so talented.

Game 12...a LONGG game, 6 game points for 4 different teams, eventually won by...you guessed it, Barronio and Victor, their 3rd time in, going from 1 point to 7, for a 5-8-3 that returned a very conservative $97.20 on the dollar. I've always felt 3-5-8 was a popular tri box anyway, and with Gallardo and Gino in the 8, and Alejandro and Azpiri in the 3, it makes sense lots of people boxed it, perhaps.

Game 13 belonged to Larru. He caught really tough balls, one on the low forehand near the feet, to score an earlier point, and run a perfect singles game, for a 4-3-2, that paid $94.90.

Game 14, the 9 point singles game, was going to be a 4-1-all, with who else in the 4? Barronio, of course. He was in complete control of 5 straight points, and I just knew the game was over...2 more and he wins it. A couple of players had chances to take him out, but he covers the court so well, and his shots are just so offensive, even from a defensive position. Anyway, he served to Gallardo in post 2, and Gallardo's left side shanks the front and side wall for an announced "perfect placement" shot. Any true jai alai fan knows that's a total unplanned luck shot. Gallardo even apologized with a wave of the cest to Barronio after he won the point. Of course, Gallardo immediately lost the next point with a bad error feed shot right to Aperri.

After Aperri in post 3 scored solidly to 6 points, losing to Laurent who played super for 6 points, Laurent served to Barronio who returned, and Laurent had the forehand lined up, went deep for chic chac, and of course, it comes way out, and Barronio gets in control and wins. Laurent was highly upset. He knew he had the shot lined up, and could have scored for a chic chac. Barronio then scored again to win as a difficult 4-3-6 that paid a modest $126.20 on the dollar.

Overall, a very nice night of play, and it can only get better when Olabe comes on board soon, plus I heard a rumor Angel is going to be returning as well. (He played last year as well.)

Comment on Ricki: Overthrows too much, meaning, setting up the frontcourters for rebotes so close to the wall, that a good player knows what to do with that. He's getting burned too much. But, this guy has some SERIOUS heat. Tonight, standing in the corner, he goes left side, and it would have been a chula if not snagged by the backcourter. I couldn't believe it when he threw it.



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