Chang keeps stranglehold on Guinness 9-Ball Tour

Defending Grand Finals champion Jung-Lin Chang of Chinese Taipei continued to make the Guinness 9 Ball Tour 2008 his own personal playground as he defeated Antonio Gabica of the Philippines, 11 – 6, at the Genting International Convention Center.

Chang looked headed for an easy victory as he raced off to a 4 – 0, but Gabica managed to knot the score as he scored the next four racks.

However, the Filipino committed a scratch on the very next break and the reigning king claimed the next six racks courtesy of another scratch and misses by his opponent to stand on the hill, 10 – 4.

Chang momentarily delayed his march to the title as he missed a shot on the brown 7 and had a dry break in the next two racks, allowing Gabica to close the gap, 10 – 6.

Nevertheless, Gabica committed a foul in the 17th rack and the Taiwanese easily cleaned the rack.

Counting his victory in the Grand Finals last year, Chang has now surpassed Efren Reyes for the most consecutive legs won on Tour with four. “I really felt confident in the Finals and had the mindset that every shot I took was going to go in the pocket. When Gabica tied the score at four I did not feel worried and thought that I just had to start over again,” revealed Chang. “But I've done well on the Tour so far so I was confident of my chances. Gabica played a good game but he made some mistakes and I capitalized on it,” he added.

“I was just over eager and Chang simply had no pressure. He's a great player, but I felt that my error on the 9th rack really was the turning point,” admitted Gabica

Chang made his way to the Finals with a 9 – 2 triumph over Ryu Seung Woo of South Korea in the semifinals. Gabica beat Hung Hsiang Wang of Chinese Taipei, 9 – 7, in the other semifinal match.

Following Genting Highlands, the Tour will visit Singapore in July, Guangzhou in September and Jakarta for the Grand Finals in October.

With his latest victory, Chang, who also won the 2008 Tour's first two legs in Chinese Taipei and Penang, earned another US $15,000 and 70 points for his effort in the annual six-city event organised by ESPN STAR Sports.