Down to Four in Manila

Lee Van Corteza

The first order of business today at the WPA World Ten Ball Championship was to winnow the field of 32 down to the Sweet Sixteen. Comebacks seemed to be the order of the day as Lee Van Corteza, who had trailed Yu Lung Chang 7-2, roared back with a display of break and runs to win the match 9-8. Daryl Peach had trailed Satoshi Kawabata 5-1 but turned that around and won 9-7 after denying any control of the table to Kawabata in the second half of the match. Finally Dennis Orcullo came back from a 7-2 deficit to Hayato Hijikata to win that match 9-8.

Mika Immonen and Marlon Manalo had a much closer run. They were tied at 6 games each before Mika hit that gear of his to take over and win 9-6. His usual nemesis, Ralf Souquet, had a terrible 41st birthday today as he was eliminated 9-6 by He Wen Li.  
Other matches of note found Warren Kiamco besting Thorsten Hohmann 9-5, Antonio Lining beating Naoyuki Ooi 9-7, Nick Van Dne Berg overcoming Jonni Fulcher 9-4, Thomas Engert dominating Imran Majid 9-2, David Alcaide making it look easy against former World Champion Chao Fong-Pang 9-5 and our defending champion Darren Appleton crushing Stephan Cohen 9-5.  

The next round would create the Great Eight. Warren Kiamco stayed sharp and eliminated Daryl Peach 9-7. Antonio Lining cruised past Jomar De Ocampo 9-2 while Mika Immonen continued his threat with a 9-7 victory over Nick Van Den Berg. New World Junior Champion Ruslan Chinokhov overcame Elvis Calasang 9-6 and Lee Van Corteza came out ahead in a nip and tuck battle with Thomas Engert 9-7. Chinese superstar He Wen Li eliminated his countryman Wang Ming 9-8, defending champion Darren Appleton overcame a 4-game deficit against Marcus Chamat to progress 9-7 and David Alcaide kept his campaign going by defeating Dennis Orcullo 9-6.  
The day was not over. We still had to determine the final four that would return on Monday for the grand glory of a World Championship. First to go out in this round was our defending Champion, Darren Appleton.  Appleton lost out 9-6 to the super-strong David Alcaide. Mika Immonen continued his invincible play against Ruslan Chinakhov and moved in to the final group easily 9-6. Antonio Lining had to go all the way to double-hill to win over Warren Kiamco 9-8 and Lee Van Corteza placed the second Filipino into the final four with his 9-7 win over He Win Li.

Our semifinals on Monday will find Corteza facing Alcaide and Lining going up against Immonen. The locals are hoping for an all-Filipino final, but there is a lot of work to be done to accomplish that.