2006 World Championship: 2 Filipinos and 3 Taiwanese Make It To Last 8, Reyes bows out

(MANILA) Rodolfo Luat buried a difficult 5 ball side pocket attempt at the 21st rack to overcome a nerve racking challenge from Spaniard David Alcaide 11-10 while another Filipino Ronato Alcano easily prevailed over Taiwanese bet Kuo Po-Cheng to advance from the round of 16 knock out stage of the 2006 World Pool Championship.

The player known as “Boy Samson” Luat, left everything to chance last night when he took his chances on the 5 ball with the score at 10 racks a piece, hoping that he hit his mark with just the right amount of spin and speed to guide it through the mouth of the side pocket.

Luckily, the orange ball went through without a hitch much to the delight of the hometown crowd, allowing the 2006 San Miguel Asian 9-ball Kaohsiung leg champ to continue on his quest for the top $100,000 prize of the annual prestigious tournament.

The I999 Southeast Asian Games champion, who is already assured of at least $I0, 000 dollars, will meet the winner between Fu Che Wei of Chinese-Taipei and former five-time world snooker champion Steve Davis, who were still playing as of press time

“If I can choose my opponent, I would prefer to battle Davis because he is at least old already,” Luat jokingly remarked.

After the first deadlock at 3-3, Luat regained confidence and took the next two racks to lead for the first time, 5-3. But a miscue on the pink no. 4 ball slowed down his game allowing Alcaide to regain the advantage, 7-5.

Yesterday in the round of 32, it was a fellow Filipino, Ronato Alcano who had the grim task of dealing the knock out punch to pool legend and beloved hometown hero Efren "Bata" Reyes, 10-7, to trudge onwards, albeit with a heavy heart, to the round of 16 of the 2006 Philippines World Pool Championship.

It was a painful moment to witness for the Filipino nation as a dejected Reyes, devoid of almost all his legendary magic, absorbed his second loss of the tournament to bow out of competition and with it the hopes of another championship caliber run towards the prestigious crown of the annual tournament being broadcasted LIVE on ESPN.

Right from the opening break, it was obvious that the 1999 World Pool title holder was in disarray – his true game never really materializing -- as Reyes muffed easy shots on the pink 4 ball at the 2 nd and 3rd racks with Alcano pouncing on every blunder to be down early in the match, 4-0.

The 52 year old pool legend finally entered the scoring board at the 5th rack after cleaning up an Alcano on the 3 ball miscue that stopped just short of the pocket's mouth.

However, that just served as a temporary stoppage of the bleeding for the World class Filipino athlete – the eye of the storm if you will, as Alcano, the streaky shooter that he is, immediately picked up where he left off and managed to orchestrate another brilliant two rack run in the 6 th and 7th racks to have the overwhelming advantage against Reyes, 6-1.

Even a three rack run churned out by Reyes at the 8th, 9th, and tenth rack was rendered irrelevant as it was bit too little and too late since both pool sharks simply traded racks till Alcano eclipsed the hill 10-7.

"I had difficulty with my shot, my arm just was not there that is why I missed a couple of easy shots in the match. Maybe because I was also tired coming into the match. But its ok. Of course I will be rooting for him (Alcano) to win the tournament and all my other Filipino compatriots. Besides, all of them (Filipinos) managed to beat me before so I was not surprised that one of them managed to defeat me. " Said Reyes.

With confidence brimming, Alcano then proceeded to decimate Taiwanese Kuo Po -Cheng 11-5 in his next match to join compatriot Luat in the round of 8. However, his next opponent will prove to be much more daunting since his bracket led him straight to the waiting arms of defending champion Wu Chia Ching, who made it through imperiously by defeating Scottish sensation Pat Holtz , 11- 6, to battle in the last 8.

Meanwhile at TV table 1 another Filipino hopeful bites the dust when debuting World Pool Campaigner Jeff de Luna was eaten alive by Veitnamese Luong Chi Dung, 11- 6.

In addition to Wu, two other Taiwanese also remain in contention for the 2006 World Pool Championship. Making up the Taiwanese survivors are Fu Che Wei, and Liu Cheng Chuan.