Alcano, 2 others in Thailand Open

Ronnie Alcano

Former double world champion Ronnie Alcano and two other stalwarts of the star-studded Bugsy Promotions leave the country today to compete in the Brunswick ( Thailand ) 9-Ball Open 2008 beginning tomorrow in Bangkok .

It will be Alcano's first international tournament this year, which he will also use as one of the major stops in his preparation for his defense of the World 8-Ball title in April in Fujairah , United Arab Emirates .

“This is a good preparation for the World 8-Ball because even though this is a 9-ball event, it will give me a chance to hone my shots, especially against foreign opponents, some of them are seeing action in Fujairah,” said Alcano.

Joining him in the trip are 2007 World Pool Championship (WPC) runner-up Roberto Gomez and current World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) no.1 Dennis Orcollo, both raring to jumpstart their campaign in the international scene this year.

Gomez is looking for his first international title since losing to Englishman Darryl Peach in the WPC finals last November.

“I'm tired of being a runner-up that's why I'm going to give all my best to become a champion this time,” said Gomez who also finished second in the Taiwan Super Cup last December. “I also want to have a good start for my campaign this year,”

For Orcollo, it will be his chance to prove that he is indeed the world's top-ranked cue artists today.

“The field might not as heavy here, but I think I still need to come up with my best to win, which I hope I do, so it will give me a momentum towards my next big goal, which is the World 8-Ball,” said Orcollo, who was the runner-up to Alcano in last year's Fujairah tilt before winning the BCA championship in Las Vegas that propelled him atop the world ranking.

Close to 300,000 baht (P400,000) are at stake in this four-day, double-elimination tournament with the champion set to get the lion's share of 150,000 baht (P200,000), while the runner-up will receive 50,000 baht, the losing semifinalists 20,000 baht each and the fifth to 16th placers 4,000 apiece. A golden break will also be rewarded with 1,000 baht.

File photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe