Big Breaking Gabica Makes it Four for the Philippines

The Filipino contingent continues to lead the way at the Taipei qualifiers for the 2004 Taiwan World Pool Championship as Antonio Gabica became the fourth Pinoy to win his spot in the main draw.

Gabica follows in the footsteps of Marlon Manalo, Rodolfo Luat and Antonio Lining as he defeated Chun-Chiang Liu of Taiwan 9-6 to take the last remaining spot in Group 7.

The 31 year-old from Cebu City had to hold his nerve in a tense final which saw Liu mount a comeback only to then lose control of the table at the crucial time.

And with Gabica on the verge of victory, the match referee had to step in to control the crowd, some of whom were attempting to distract the Filipino player whilst he was shooting.

Gabica had defeated So Shariari, the sole UK competitor in the qualifying tournament, in his semi-final as the brave Brit saw his run come to an end, and he had also earlier knocked out compatriot Leonardo Andam.

“I'm happy to qualify because this is a difficult competition, said Gabica. “It's not good when things happen like at the end – it's bad sportsmanship from the crowd and it makes it hard to concentrate.

“I made a mistake too though because I moved once to look at the balls when he was playing and I'm sorry for that but I didn't have a problem with my opponent, he's a good player.

Gabica added that the match he was most looking forward to was that against Francisco Bustamante, the top seed in his group.

“I played Francisco in the 1997 and 1998 finals of the Bear Open but lost both times so if I'm lucky, I can win this.

“I'd like to thank my sponsor, Perry Maryano, for his help and I hope I can go a long way in this event.”