NEW YORK — There is no shame in losing a point to Ernesto Ebuen. He was a six-time national table tennis champion in the Phillipines.
When he came to the United States in 2007, he eventually became the top-ranked player in the country.
What You Need To Know
- PINGPOD is an autonomous table tennis playing venue where tables can be reserved online 24 hours a day
- There are two PINGPOD locations in Manhattan, and locations on the way in Queens and Brooklyn
- PINGPOD also offers lessons and classes for those players looking to improve their game
- Business partner Ernesto Ebuen is a six-time Philippine National Table Tennis Champion and was rated #1 in the United States in 2016
"I came to the U.S., to New York, with nothing, just with my table tennis skills, and used table tennis to make a living, and now open my dream table tennis place,” said Ebuen, who is the co-founder of PINGPOD along with partners David Silberman and Max Kogler.
They got together in 2019 to mix table tennis with technology. It’s table tennis on-demand 24 hours a day. There are two locations in Manhattan, with Queens and Brooklyn locations on the way.
"We call it an autonomous concept: there are no employees working here on site, so you make a reservation, you show up, you play, you walk out, and we have a great security system to make sure everyone is following protocol and keeping the place safe,” Silberman explained.
It’s a welcome spot for players like Carol Klenfer, a longtime rock 'n' roll music publicist-turned-senior table tennis champ whom Ebuen coaches.
If you can’t find a playing partner within the PINGPOD online community, there's a robot table. Yes, a ping pong robot, which can be programmed to provide a wicked spin on the ball.
The PINGPOD founders truly love this Olympic sport, which they said is a lot more than just something people played in their basement or at the rec center growing up. It's a great physical and mental workout.
"It's good for your brain, it's good for your heart, it's a good fitness exercise,” Ebuen said.
"If everyone in New York has a place to play withing 20 blocks of them, I think that a lot more people will play a lot more regularly,” Silberman added.