Manomanista Championship: Pascual triumphs as Astelena is treated to the two faces of Zubieta

Sunday 5th April
Astelena, Eibar

Inigo Pascual was forced to come from behind last night in his defeat of Aitor Zubieta. This was expected to be a close run thing and in the end, the score tends to suggest that this was the truth. However, that would be a drastic over simplification of a strange match which Zubieta lost as much as Pascual won.

The early signs were that Zubieta would find himself home and dry at a canter. The 25 year old from Etxarri Aranatz stormed to a 12-2 lead and in the process showed what an exciting and skillful pelotari he can be. He dominated with both hands and was especially impressive when volleying. His defence was every bit as good as his attack. Pascual seemed a broken man. However, having seen the good side of Zubieta, we were now to see the bad. Possession of all the shots in the pelota armoury is half the battle but this is nothing without consistency. Zubieta appeared to flick a switch and change in the blink of an eye. 12-2 became 12-9 as Pascual made the most of his opponent’s new found waywardness. In the next point, Zubieta, with the entire frontis at his mercy, somehow contrived to hit too high; he seemed incapable of hitting the green part of the wall at all. Pascual passed his rival with ease, and although he handed the lead back momentarily at 14-15, Zubieta could not capitalise. 22-18 was the final score but numbers alone cannot tell the story of such a capitulation.

Zubieta will leave the competition and rue an opportunity missed. Pascual on the other hand will prepare for his next contest, against Xala on Friday.

Inigo Pascual

Inigo Pascual

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