Tag Archives: Sestao

Pairs Championship: Olaizola II-Beroiz confirm their billing as Asegarce’s finest

Friday 16th December, Sestao


Aimar Olaizola is likely to be the favourite in almost everything he enters just now and that was certainly the case here. He does not have a long history of playing with Mikel Beroiz, who only transferred to Asegarce from Aspe in the summer, but on the strength of a series of good results together including an exemplary campaign at the San Mateo tournament, they were paired together. This opening match assuaged any doubts as to the worthiness of the 22 year old Beroiz, who played a flawless match in support of his illustrious partner, raising their stock in this championship still further.

The pair in blue could not possibly has made a better start to their assault on the txapela, storming to a 7-0 lead with minimum of effort. Berasaluze started badly, gifting his opponents the first three points with unforced errors. Some might have complained more vociferously when in the fourth point Aimar unintentionally got in his way in hitting a winner to the corner, but Beraslauze knew he was beaten, nodded as if to acknowledge his opponent’s superiority and moved on. Aimar controlled the next two points with consummate assurance, demonstrating his tactical nouse as well as his ability to conjure winners of brilliance, and an Albisu error sealed their early dominance. The red pair managed their long overdue first point thanks mostly to a slight breakdown in communication from the favourites but they did not seize the chance presented to them to get back into the game as the blues built their lead to nine at 10-1.

It was not until the score stood at 2-11 that Berasaluze got into his stride, hinting at a possible comeback. Four winners in a row from the effervescent forward halved their deficit and the man from Berriz finally showed the crowd what he could do with two winners to the corner and a scintillating cross court airez followed by an unreturnable serve. It was thanks to Albisu, hitting high, that they could not capitalise on their new found momentum; while Beroiz hit powerfully and metronimically, the young debutante was inconsistent and ill at ease. Both pairs accumulated points in ones and twos in the next period of the match. Berasaluze’s determination and will prevented the points deficit from increasing, but he and Albisu could make no progress against the control of Aimar and the inpregnability of Beroiz. Two Berasaluze winners gave the underdogs some hope as they arrived at 10-15, but from there the floodgates opened and they failed to score further. Four of these points came from the hand of Aimar who was so much in the ascendency that he appeared almost nonchalant. A low strike from Berasaluze sealed the deal as Asegarce’s most fancied pairing chalked up their first win in some considerable style. 

Scoring sequence: 0-7, 1-7, 1-10, 2-10, 2-11, 6-11, 6-12, 6-13, 8-13, 8-15, 10-15, 10-22.
Service winners/errors: Berasaluze 2/0, Olaizola 0/0
Winners/errors: Berasaluze 8/3, Olaizola 12/2, Albisu 0/5, Beroiz 2/0
Match time: 54:16 with 26:49 of actual play
Balls hit: 518

An excellent start for Mikel Beroiz

An excellent start for Mikel Beroiz

Photo: mine

Impressive Ibai Perez wins on debut

Friday 12th June, Las Llamas, Sestao


ASPE have been shopping for new young blood and on Friday in Sestao, their second recent acquisition made his eagerly awaited professional debut. He had a hard act to follow after the convincing win pulled off by the first new pro, Cecilio, two weeks ago, but Ibai Perez delivered with cream on top. In front of a large and enthusiastic crowd in his home town, the young forward played with incredible tenacity and verve to humble a quality pair in Aritz Lasa and Eulate. They say the young have no nerves and of this Ibai is living proof.

In a match which lasted nearly an hour and a half, almost every point was a game in miniature. The first play continued for a lifetime and Ibai Perez was kept waiting for his first contact with the pelota by his partner, Inigo Pascual, who took on the point almost singlehandedly. However, when he did enter the breach, he made his presence felt, immediately overcoming Aritz Lasa in the forward tussle when his pressure caused his opponent to misfire with a hook. However, despite this excellent opening salvo from the pair in blue, the first half of the match was all about Aritz and Eulate, who despite never appearing streets ahead, possessed the edge in finishing power. From 0-1, they took the score to 4-1 and then 7-2 thanks to some solid serving from Aritz and an unfortunate error from the debutante who had a gargantuan point at his mercy before hitting inexplicably low. However, from this juncture, Pascual and Ibai Perez began to claw their way back. Two errors from Aritz reduced the deficit to three before another monstrous point gave Ibai Perez in particular a huge fillip. It was an excellent example of doubles play from all concerned; Pascual was peppered with one long ball after another but returned with interest and his young partner flung himself in all directions for the cause before flooring Eulate with a masterful drop. The apprentice had suddenly turned boss.

The lead of Aritz Lasa and Eulate grew once more to five points at 13-8, due in large part to three errors from Pascual, who hit wide and low in succession, before missing the ball altogether, and a slip and a winner from Ibai and Aritz respectively. In this early portion of the game, it was Eulate who held the key to red control, providing a solid and dependable platform from which Aritz Lasa could attack. Nobody could have imagined that the wheels would fall off in such dramatic fashion. Eulate, extraordinarily, committed five errors in a row, hitting both high, low and short. Ibai Perez’s pressure and strong service are an explanation of sorts, but Eulate seemed to have lost the metaphorical plot. When Ibai struck a stinging txoko winner to take the lead for the first time, the crowd raised the roof. The local boy was on fire and would never be headed again. The ‘home’ team’s lead never grew to more than three, but so assured did they look that the result seemed sealed. Eulate, although he improved, made a further six errors in the match and this was extremely telling, but nothing must be taken away from the triumph of Ibai and Pascual, who fought like warriors for every scrap which came their way. The point which closed the lead of the eventual winners to a single point at 18-19 was emblematic of a match where every rally was a tussle to the death. It lasted 4.40 minutes and 91 strikes of the ball before Aritz Lasa finally out-manoeuvred Ibai Perez to take the spoils. But this was transient triumph for Aritz and Eulate; they won the battle but Pascual and his rookie partner won the war.

Ibai Perez, on the strength of his performance here, is a tantalising prospect. He is fast and bustling, somewhat in the manner of Oinatz Bengoetxea, and hits with abandon and a noted lack of fear. This was a tense, close match, where almost every point hung on a knife edge, yet the young forward never lost focus, displaying a maturity far in advance of his tender years. ASPE must nurture him with care.

Scoring sequence: 0-1, 1-1, 4-1, 4-2, 7-2, 7-3, 7-5, 8-5, 10-5, 10-7, 11-7, 11-8, 12-8, 13-8, 13-9, 13-16, 14-16, 15-16, 15-17, 15-18, 16-18, 16-19, 17-19, 18-19, 19-19, 19-20, 19-22.

Ibai Perez

Ibai Perez