Filipino Pool Stars Falter in Singapore

The two top seeds in the first leg of the San Miguel Asian 9-ball Tour, Filipinos Efren 'Bata' Reyes and Francisco 'Django' Bustamante suffered stunning defeats in the quarter finals leaving two lesser lights Antonio 'Ga Ga' Gabica and Gandy Valle to stave off a possible All-Taipei final for the top prize of $10,000 on Sunday in Singapore.

The predominantly pro-Filipino crowd at the Suntec Exhibition Hall was stunned when Gabica who ousted Reyes from last week's Hope P1 million (around $20,000) All Filipino Billiards Championship repeated the performance with an exhibition of near flawless pool to win 9-4.

But the bigger news was the incredible comeback by Chinese-Taipei sensation Yang Ching Shun who clawed back from a 6-0 deficit to overcome last week's winner of the Hope P1 million tournament Francisco 'Django' Bustamante 9-7 in an enthralling match that had the fans spellbound.

Bustamante got off to a roaring start with some superb pool to race to what many thought was an insurmountable 6-0 lead. After Yang racked up five racks in a row in the alternate break format, Bustamante settled down to break and run out for a 7-5 lead that gave him some breathing room and the Filipinos in the crowd some hope. However, Tang was not to be denied. Yang behind two great safeties came to within one rack at 7-6. After Bustamante missed a safety on the 1-ball, Yang played an exquisite thin cut on a long shot that sent the ball into what commentator Bob Guerrero said was 'the heart of the pocket' and when the Chinese-Taipei ace finished in a flourish with a 6-9 combination to make it 7-7, the tide had shifted dramatically in his favor.

Yang was picking his shots and using his head in a tough mental game while Bustamante appeared to be rattled and although Yang didn't play a particularly good safety on the 2-ball and banged his chalk on the table in frustration, Bustamante failed to make anything of it and Yang went to the hill with another 6-9 combo. Disaster struck as Bustamante uncharacteristically scratched on the break and with a smile on his face Yang proceeded to wrap up an unbelievable comeback. Bustamante sportingly smiled as he shook Yang's hand and the Taipei superstar returned the complement later saying he was lucky.

Teenage sensation Wu Chia Ching who knocked out 2000 World Pool Champion and Taiwanese legend Fong Pang Chao in a gripping encounter 9-8 on opening day came back once again from an early deficit to book a place in the semi finals by defeating host nation Singapore' 8-ball and 9-ball champion Chan Keng Kwang and will face Gandy Valle of the Philippines who upset countryman and Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games champion Lee Van Corteza 9-5.