Inside this Casino, everybody’s a sure winner

Luis Moro III entered the doors of the Casino last week. On the poker tables, he sat and gambled. On the green rectangles with the felt covering, he competed. He hopped from event to event, playing this shot and that stroke, joining as many tables and courts as he could.

In the end, guess who emerged the Casino jackpot winner and took home the P2.75 million prize money?

Louie Moro.

(This being April Fool’s Day, that’s the amount I overheard Louie brought home. Some say he won more…)

The “Casino,” of course, is no Casino Filipino at the Waterfront Lahug. It’s the other, better-because-you-never-lose Casino, the one along V. Ranudo St. and founded some 87 years ago. It’s the Casino Español.

Last month, during the whole March, the club organized a sports campaign called the “Copa de Casino Español” that included hundreds of members and guests joining. There were five Copa events: tennis, badminton, poker, billiards, and golf. The jackpot winner among all who garnered the most points and was named “Sportsman of the Year?”

Louie Moro. He joined badminton and won the deciding mixed doubles game with Gina Juan against their rivals from the Metrosports Badminton Club. Louie also joined last Thursday’s golf event at the Cebu Country Club, scoring 40 points to win the runner-up Class A honors together with teammates Macky Michael, Toby Florendo, and Steve Benitez.

MACKY MICHAEL. Here’s another super-athlete. Class A in golf (his handicap runs between 6 to 9), he’s Class A at tennis. Last Thursday, from 12:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon, Macky walked several kilometers under the summer heat to compete in the Copa golf event. On the front nine, he carded a 37 and on the back nine a 39 for a total gross score of 76. Wow. That’s a top Class A score.

But Macky wasn’t finished. In less than two hours, he switched from golf to tennis shoes, from 5-wood to tennis racket, then drove to the Casino Espanol. Playing with partner Stanley Yap (the young entrepreneur of the iStore at the BTC), he beat Dave Townsend and myself in a thrilling match (8-7… 7-5 in the tiebreak) for the Class A trophy.

Not bad? How about amazing. Runner-up in Class-A team golf, 3rd in golf individual scores, champion in tennis—all in one same afternoon and evening? That’s Macky Michael.

In the other tennis finals, the big winners were Kit Borromeo and Nene Montederamos (Class C champions) who won over Hydee Mesina and Joy Pesons…

Donald Ruiz and Fred Quilala won the Class B title over Jun Jumao-as and Rolly Borres…

To the organizing group, led by Jeffrey Dico, Jun San Juan, and Joe Camaya, congratulations!

BADMINTON. Three nights were all-badminton. Last Monday to Tuesday, players were divided into four teams. The winners? The team lead by Jordan Tanco, with Jourdan Polotan and Co. as members. On Wednesday night, it was the Casino group versus their friends from the Metrosports. The Casino netters included Martin Montenegro, Louie Moro, Gina Juan, Frederick “TT” Tan, Jordan Tanco, Allen Tan, Kenneth Co, and 12-year-old CVIRAA champion, Janel Dihiansan.

The most thrilling moment came when, after five doubles pairings and a dozen sets, it came down to the final set between Louie and Gina Juan against Arman and Noeme. In the end, with Louie sneaking forward to smash the returns and Gina flicking the shuttle cock for pinpoint drop shots, the Casino group won.

AWARDS NIGHT. How about these: Eat-all-you-can Angus beef. The SRO band who danced and screamed live at the front stage. Free wine and umbrellas for all. Intelligent lights that swirled and encircled the ballroom. A giant “Vamos a Jugar!” streamer that hung on the backdrop. Wow!

It was the Awards Night last Friday, the moment to honor the winners. Casino president Cheling Sala welcomed the participants while Nonoy Tirol (the Copa chairperson) thanked all the sponsors. Nonoy Alba, the sports director of Casino, stood tall at the front to hand out the shiny silver-clad trophies that were handed to the champions while Casino general manager Ed Tongco, in his dashing light pink polo barong, beamed a smile and shook hands with everyone.

At the end of the night and the month of March that brimmed with sweat and laughter and high-fives and food, everybody asked, “Does anyone lose at the Casino?”

No, nobody loses at the Casino Español.

Even if, like Louie, you don’t win P2.75 million.

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