“Overrated!”That’s what a rowdy Orange County fan had to say about San Diego’s star player, Rob Machado, yesterday. And what could give a person such audacity? With one last chance heading into the bottom of the fourth quarter, SD trailed by a whopping 47 points, and if anyone could help change that, it was Rob. He’d surfed maybe his fastest ever on Friday, shifting through forehand snaps like a well-oiled cheetah, helping his team to a 48-point fourth and much needed win over Ventura. But with OC’S rookie sensation, Brett Simpson, out sticking phat front side threes, it wasn’t hard for the same raucous visiting fan to holler, “That’s right; that one beats all of Rob’s waves combined.”

Which turned out right, in a way. With at least 17 points of pressure loaded on his frail shoulders, Rob made a few costly mistakes on high-potential lefts. Not that he didn’t lash a few sick turns in between but basically, the OC had put his team against the wall. With no timeouts remaining and a ten minute flat spell, you could see the OC dugout start licking their lips, and with SD’S Kyle Knox trying for a last dash grovel, “Go on, yeah, keep going, keep GOING!” they started, even till whipping into a frenzy of hard foot stomping chant: “OC, OC, OC!”

So San Diego had swooped Ventura and dropkicked Santa Cruz in the last two days, even so to make SC unveil their cherished gorilla mascot for any hope of a win, but it’s official: OC is the team to beat. At 4-1, their spot in the California Cup is sealed. Now it’s between SD and Ventura to fill that second spot, but with Ventura holding the advantage. Due to a rare flat spell last weekend in Santa Cruz, they and OC will both have rescheduled games coming up with the great white north. For OC it’ll be a practice game, but for Ventura it’ll be crucial. A win will put them in the California Cup. A loss will give SD a chance.

If Ventura loses to Santa Cruz at Steamer Lane this coming week, then it will come down to a best points –to-win margin, where Diego has the up with a 38.25 to V. Towns 10.5. But don’t count on Santa Cruz going out too easy. “Things are gonna change at the Lane,” said SC’S Kieran Horn, and considering his town’s rep for diehard fans, they just might be able to make the visitors crack.

Then again, with the kind of aerial artillery OC and Ventura pack, with Chris Ward or Dane Reynolds respectively, the Cruz will have to be in their finest flying form. San Diego already have matching mowhawks with the initials SD shaved in, and Ventura even have three-time world champ, Tom Curren, but do either have any chance with the boys from the land of strip malls and orange juice? OC doesn’t think so. Or as their water coach, Jeff Hurley put it, “We’ve just got this whole game too dialed.”— Hagan Kelley Saturday Score
165.50 SD-135.50 SC
MVP: Austin Ware-SD (20.5)
Most Radical Move: Jason Collins-SC (front side carving 360)
Sunday Score
170.25 OC-159.25 SD
MVP: Chris Ward-OC (26.75)
Most Radical Move: Brett Simpson-OC (front side 360 air)