Bata, Corteza, Kiamco Win Openers in All Japan Championship

FILIPINO POOL MAESTRO EFREN "BATA" REYES, acknowledged as one of the greatest players of all time, defending champion Lee Vann "The Slayer" Corteza and Warren "Warrior" Kiamco lived up to expectations by hurdling their respective rivals at the start of the 40th All Japan Championships 2007 at Hotel New Archaic Hall in Amagasaki-shi, Hyogo, Japan on Wednesday.

The 53-year-old Reyes playing under the banner of Puyat Sports, the 1999 Cardiff World Pool Champion winner clobbered D. Enami and Y. Morino of Japan, while the 28-year-old Corteza from Negros Billiard Stable (NBS) toppled T. Haraguchi of Japan and 2007 Guinness Asian 9-Ball tour over-all grand finale champion Chang Jung-lin of Taiwan, respectively.

The 38-year-old Kiamco, also from Negros Billiard Stable outplayed K. Suzuki and A. Shiraiwa of Japan to keep Filipino hopes flying high in the event which offers JPY2,000,000 to the champion in this double elimination format according to official website yesterday. The runner-up here gets JPY1,000,000 while 3rd-4th takes on JPY500,000, 5th-8th : JPY250,000 9th-16th : JPY125,000 and 17th-32nd : JPY60,000.

"Efren, Lee Vann and Warren remain in the winner's brackets according to my Japanese friend but other Filipino player is in the loser's brackets," said National coach Boyet Asonto in a text message yesterday to this writer.

In the next round, Reyes goes up against K. Hirota of Japan, Corteza will test the mettle of 2005 Taiwan World Pool Champion runner-up Po-cheng Kuo of Taiwan, and Kiamco opposite two-time Asian Games 9-ball gold medalist Ching-Shun Yang of Taiwan.

Hirota, on the other hand crushed compatriots M. Mizushita and Y. Mori, Kuo blasted Lee Chen-man of Hongkong and T. Yamamoto of Japan while Yang, who beat Dennis Orcollo in their one on one match dubbed as The Richest Game of Asia in Gateway Mall, walloped H. Kato of Japan and Toh Lian Han of Singapore, in order.

Not as fortunate were former World No.1 Francisco "Django" Bustamante and Ramil "Bebeng" Gallego who were relegated to the loser's brackets.

The 43-year-old Bustamante, from Puyat Sports nipped T. Noda of Japan but succumbed to Y. Hisada of Japan in the next round, while Gallego from Negros Billiard Stable beat Chi-wai Au of Hongkong but yielded to Hsiang-wang Hung of Taiwan.

Other cue masters who posted back to back wins include 1996 WPC winner Ralf Souquet of Germany, 2001 WPC winner Mika Immonen of Finland, 2005 WPC winner Chia-Ching Wu, Chan-lu Hui and Hsiang-Chuang Chih of Taiwan, Liu Haitao of China, 2006 Doha Asian games 8-ball gold medalist Satoshi Kawabata and ex-WPC champ Kunihiko Takahashi of Japan among others.