Bata-Led Team Begins Qatar World Open 9-Ball Campaign

Efren Reyes (File Photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY---FILIPINO pool maestro Efren "Bata" Reyes will lead the assault of a strong Philippine contingent as the tough Qatar Open 9-Ball tournament gets going on June 29-July 5 at the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation, Al Muntazah Road , Doha , Qatar.
Fondly called "The Magician" in the pool arena, the pride of Angeles City, Pampanga is aching to bounce back from the embarrassment he suffered in the first Senate President Manny Villar Cup in Cebu against a virtually unknown Rodrigo Geronimo, 9-1.
"I hope to perform well in Qatar World 9-Ball Open after my sub-par performance in Cebu Open ," said Reyes. " But what ever happen, I wish a Filipino can win the championship's trophy in Qatar," added Reyes, who is the first Filipino World Pool Champion in 1999.
Other notable Filipino bets competing here are Francisco "Django" Bustamante, world No.1 Dennis Orcollo, reigning national champion Lee Van Corteza and Warren Kiamco.
Former Asian snooker champion Marlon Manalo, 2007 Manny Pacquiao International 9-ball Open titlist Jeffrey De Luna and 2006 Doha Asian Games gold medalist Antonio Gabica will also see action in this event that offers $40,000 to the winner. They will take a short rest after grueling battles in the Puerto Princesa Cup, second leg of the Philippine Pool Tour before heading to Qatar.
Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) president Ernesto Fajardo expressed optimism on the Filipinos' chances in this tournament despite a tiring schedule they encountered.
"We have a good chance in this event," said Fajardo. "Our players are coming off from separate tournaments. These tournaments might sharpen them a bit for the Qatar tournament."      
Taiwanese ace Chia-Ching Wu, who ruled the second leg of the RP Pool Tour, will also join the event along with compatriot Pin-Yi Ko, the reigning world junior champion.
A formidable cast of foreign participants from Europe and the United States will also compete. Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann of Germany and Johnny Archer and Shane Van Boening of the US are also the favorites in the tournament.    
All these players are already seeded in the tournament proper of this $150,000 event.
Cebu leg champion Gandy Valle, Ramil Gallego and snooker specialist Benjie Guevarra will participate in the stage one elimination on June 27.  However, if another slot opens in the main draw, the Japan-based Gallego is the top priority according to Fajardo because his superb performance in the past.
Around 96 players will see action in this event. They will be divided into eight groups with 12 players each. They will play in a double elimination, alternate break, race-to-nine format.