APBU Names 14 Asian Men Players for WTBC

Ching-Shun Yang

The first batch of 14 Asian players who will be seeing action in the WPA World Ten Ball Championship in Manila was announced yesterday by the Asian Pocket Billiards Union.

Included in the 14 players are former World Junior champion Pin Yi Ko of Chinese Taipei, and his compatriots, many-time Guinness 9-Ball titlists Jun Lin Chang and Ching-Shun Yang.

The other Asian qualifiers include Hung-Hsiang Wang (Chinese Taipei); Satoshi Kawabata, Naoyuki Oi, and Hayato Hijikata (Japan); Ryu Seung Woo, Young-hwa Jeong, and Kim Woong-Dae (Korea); Dharminder Singh Lilly (India) and Fahad Mohammadi, Basgar Hussain, and Mohd Al Bin Ali (Qatar).

The 14 players will join two other Asian players who earlier won guaranteed spots through the Philippine Pool Tour -- Chia-Ching Wu of Chinese Taipei and Antonio Gabica of the Philippines. They will all enter the main draw of 128 players of the WTBC.

Fifteen other Asian players will be named by APBU later this month. They will be coming from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei.  

The WTBC is organized by Raya Sports with the support of Star Billiards, the Billiards & Snooker Congress of the Philippines, and the Philippine Billiards Foundation. The event is sanctioned and supervised by the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA), the world's governing body for pocket billiards.

Chang is a six-leg winner of the Guinness 9-Ball Tour. He recently saw action in the Challenge of Champions in the US.

Ko is the reigning World junior champion and has swiftly emerged as Chinese Taipei's newest star. After dethroning three-time World junior champion Lun-Wu Yu in Germany last year, he won the Brunswick-Thailand Open in February this year.

Yang, celebrated as the "Son Of Pool" in his home country,  is a multi-titled player, having won championships in the Guinness 9-Ball Tour and San Miguel Asian Tour.

Kawabata is Japan's top bet in international pool and finished in the top 10 of last year's World Pool Championship.

Ryu and Lilly are currently the No. 1 players in Korea and India respectively. They have competed and caught notice with impressive performances in the Guinness Tour.