Double World Champions Top bill at Puerto Princesa Cup

Ralf Souquet

Three double world champions – Ralf Souquet, Chia-Ching Wu and Thorsten Hohmann -- will head the stellar cast at the second leg of the Philippine Pool Tour when it unfolds on June 20-22 at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum in the famous capital of Palawan.

Souquet, who hails from Germany, is the first world champion to be crowned this year after his victory last April in the World 8-Ball Championship in Fujairah, UAE. He bested Ronnie Alcano of the Philippines, who had earlier beaten him in the 2006 finals of the World 9-Ball Championship in Manila.

Wu of Taiwan was double world champion in 9-ball and 8-ball in 2005, when he stunned the world pool community at the age of just 17 years old.

Hohmann, for his part won the 2003 world 9-ball championship in Cardiff, Wales, and the world straight pool championship in New York in 2005.

The trio of champions will be testing their mettle in the new discipline of Ten Ball, which the World Pool-Billiards Association (WPA) officially introduced into the world tournament calendar this year.

Souquet, Wu and Hohmann will be going up against top-flight competition from the Philippines and around the world in the Puerto Princesa tournament, which is being presented by San Miguel Beer.

One formidable challenger is Jun-Lin Chang of Taiwan, who has recently dominated the Guinness 9-Ball Tour for Asian players. He took the Guinness grand championship last year, and this year has already won the first three legs of the tour.

The Puerto foreign contingent at this point already includes entries from England, Canada, Japan, China and Vietnam

Leading the Philippine charge is Antonio Gabica, winner of the first leg of the PPT – the Mandaluyong Mayor's Cup – and reigning Philippine 9-Ball Open champion and Asian Games gold medalist. He lost to Chang last weekend in the Genting Highlands leg of the Guinness tour.

Other top Filipino players seeing action are Marlon Manalo, Leonardo Andam. Mario Tolentino, Leonardo Didal, Elvis Calasang, and teenage sensation Jericho Banares, the 2008 Philippine junior champion.

Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn of Puerto Princesa City is hosting the tournament. The resort city hosts and stages sports events year-round. Popularly known as the eco-tourism capital of the Philippines, Puerto Princesa recently hosted the Palarong Pambansa (National Games) of the country.

With the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) as main organizer, the Puerto Cup will take place in two stages: Stage 1 (Elimination Rounds) on June 16-17 at the Star Billiards Center in Quezon City, and Stage 2 (Main Tournament) on June 19-22 at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum.

The Puerto Princesa Cup has a prize fund of $30,000. A top prize of $10,000 goes to the winner of the championship. Prizes are awarded up to 32nd place.

The tournament is sanctioned by the Asian Pocket Billiards Union (APBU) and listed in the 2008 WPA calendar of events. For more information and updates, visit the official website: