Eight of the World’s Top 20 Pool Players Clash This Weekend!

Efren Reyes

San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour Cues Up in Singapore

March 14, 2003, Singapore. . . Asia's no.1 sports broadcaster ESPN STAR Sports brings to Singapore eight of the world's top-seeded 20 pool players this weekend (15-16 March) as it cues up the first leg of the five-city San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour at Pool Haven in Clarke Quay from 10am onwards each day. The event offers free admission to the public.

Featuring many of the best pool players Asia has produced, including former World Pool Champions Efren "Bata" Reyes and world's no. 2 Francisco Bustamante both from the Philippines and Chao Fong-Pang from Chinese Taipei, this weekend's competition is also the first chance for the 32 participating players to garner qualifying points towards the World Professional Pool Championships in Cardiff, UK in July. The Tour is the only opportunity in Asia for pool players to qualify to the World Pool Championships. Adding to the stakes will be a prize money purse of US$50,000 up for grabs at this weekend's Singapore leg and on each subsequent stop of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour in Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Taipei and Manila.

Richard Young, ESPN STAR Sports' vice president of Event Management Group and Programme Development: "This weekend marks the beginning of our endeavor to deliver to our STAR Sports viewers across the region, world-class, home-grown Asian-bred pool talent that is making its presence felt in the global arena in a big way. In the 2002 World Pool Championships alone, 30 pool players represented Asia from Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Singapore. We are certain that the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour will showcase the best pool action in the region and we're proud to organize and broadcast this Tour on STAR Sports to Asia's pool fans."

Bienvenido Pierre Niles III, brand manager - International Market, San Miguel Beer Division: "This event brings together the premiere Asian billiard players all under one roof, showcasing their talents, to eventually define the Best of the Best in Asian billiards. San Miguel and ESPN Star Sports have the same vision. We see the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour as a venue not only to bring out the competitive spirit in the players across Asia but also to foster camaraderie and better relations between the Asian nations. San Miguel's support for different sports programs - from basketball, boxing and now billiards - goes a long way, but always has been pegged on one purpose: to promote sportsmanship to a higher level."

At this weekend's tournament, Singapore is represented by 1998 Asian Games Silver Medallist and the 59th top pool player in the world Tan Tiong Boon, William Ang Boon Lay and wildcards Adrian Tan Beng Huat and Bernard Tey Choon Kiat.

9-ball is a sport where Asians compete at the highest levels in the world, producing more world champions over the past few years than any other region with no less than five of the last 10 world champions being Asian. 1999 world champion Efren "Bata" Reyes from the Philippines and 1993 & 2000 world champions Chao Fong-Pang of Chinese Taipei will definitely be the players to beat in Singapore. These two 9-ball giants will face up against the likes of current world number two Francisco "Django" Bustamante, Busan Asian Games 9-Ball singles silver medallist Warren Kiamco, 1992-93 world youth champion Hsia Hui Kai and Busan Asian Games 9-Ball singles gold medallist Yang Ching Shun.

Others players to watch include Busan Asian Games 9-Ball bronze medallist Jeong Young Hwa of Korea and the two veteran JPBA players Haruyoshi Hinokiyama & Akikumo Toshikawa.

Catch 9-Ball at 9pm on STAR Sports - All the action of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour in Singapore will air on STAR Sports at 9pm on April 1-3 and April 8-10 (Singapore/Hong Kong time). For the latest schedules and program information on ESPN STAR Sports, catch us on the net at www.espnstar.com.

The San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour is organized by ESPN STAR Sports' Event Management Group (EMG). EMG manages and promotes premier sporting events around Asia. EMG specialises in creating, managing, promoting, consulting, producing and syndicating world class sporting events throughout Asia. The Group has been awarded numerous awards, among them; Best Promoted Event in 1998 and 1999 awarded by the ATP; Best Sporting Event in Hong Kong in 1998 and 1999 awarded by the Hong Kong Sports Development Board; and Best Event Organiser in 2000 awarded by the Singapore Tourism Board. The Group has managed over 100 events in 11 countries, including the Aviva Asian Bowling Tour and Grand Slam Finals and the six-city Asian Xtour and Asia's most prestigious action sport competition the Asian X Games. The Group also owns and manages the world's richest futsal competition, the KL World 5s; and in the summer of 2003 will organise the only official English Premier League pre-season tournament, the F.A. Premier League Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. All events organized by EMG enjoy unrivalled regional broadcast across Asia through the ESPN and STAR Sports channels.

For more on-site information, please contact:

Mai Tatoy, ESPN STAR Sports tel: (65) 6488 6134 or email: tatoym@espnstar.com

Edward Yip, ESPN STAR Sports tel: (852) 26219642 or email: yipe@espnstar.com