2006 Smb Asian 9-Ball Tour Jakartta Leg Gets Underway

Efren Reyes

With top-finishes in almost every pool competition so far this year, including the inaugural partypoker.com World-cup of pool, the Filipino contingent bannered by newly crowned 8-ball IPT world open champion Efren "Bata" Reyes and three other Filipinos are definitely among the favored cue artists to claim the last leg of the 2006 San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour. Action in the group stage begins today, at the glamorous Mutiara Ballroom of the Gran Melia Jakarta Hotel, Indonesia.

Reyes is in Group 2 together with Ching-Shun Yang of Taiwan and local bet Roy Apancho . The Filipino pool legend will take on Apancho at 5:30p.m. (Manila time) in Table 4 then face off against Yang at 7:30 p.m. in the TV Table live on STAR Sports.

Reyes' 2006 World Cup of Pool co-winner Francisco "Django" Bustamante is in Group 3 with Taiwanese Hung-Hsiang Wang and Chinese Li He-Wen. Bustamante will see action against Wang at 12 p.m. then close out the eliminations versus Li at 7:30 p.m.

Over in Group 5, Kaohsiung leg winner Rodolfo Luat will battle Thai Amnuayporn Chotipong at 3:30 p.m. He will then square-off with Indonesia's ALWI at the Live TV table at 9 p.m.

Bangkok Asian Tour Champion, Ramil Gallego, will test the mettle of Japan's Masaaki Tanaka, who eliminated Reyes in Taiwan, at 12p.m. then challenge the pocketing skills of Apsi Chaniago of Indonesia at the LIVE 1:45p.m TV table in Group

STAR Sports will be dedicating fifteen (15) hours of LIVE coverage for this fourth and final leg of the 2006 Asian Tour. The matches will be aired LIVE ( Manila time) today, September 15 at 1800- 2230hrs for the preliminaries, 1030-1630hrs for the Quarterfinals on September 16 and 1200-1630hrs for the Semifinals and the Final match on September 17.

The Tour is the only ranking tour in Asia for players to qualify to the World Pool Championship. The top ten finishers in the San Miguel Asian 9-ball Tour Order of Merit will automatically enter the 2006 World Pool Championship in November. Adding to the stakes will be a total tour prize money purse of $160,000 up for grabs in the four legs of the event.

The champion of each leg will earn the top prize of US$10,000 while the runner-up will settle for US$5,000. Jakarta is the last stop for this year's Asian 9-ball tour. Prior to this current leg, the tour also held tournaments in Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Taiwan.

This year promises to be more exciting as the tour will follow a new format. The main draw of 24 players will be divided into eight groups and they will compete in a single round robin format for the group stage with the top eight players advancing to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals onwards will follow a single game knockout format. There will be alternate breaks with the group stage and quarterfinals following a race to 9, while the semifinals and the finals will be a race to 11. In the semis and finals, a player must win by two clear racks up to a maximum of race to 13.

For more information on the Tour, please check out www.asian9-balltour.com. For the latest schedules and program information on ESPN STAR Sports, catch us on the net at www.espnstar.com.

The San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour is sanctioned by the Asian Pocket Billiard Union and organized by ESPN STAR Sports' Event Management Group (EMG) and the All Indonesian Billiards Association. San Miguel Beer is the title sponsor for the Tour. Iwan Simonis and Aramith supply the official tablecloth and official balls respectively. Brunswick Metro is the official pool table. Gran Melia Jakarta is the official hotel and venue. Bola Sports Tabloid is the official media. STAR Sports is the official broadcaster.