Filipinos In Great Start at All-Japan 9-Ball Championship

The powerhouse Philippine squad at the All Japan 9-Ball Championship has got off to a great start with Efren “Bata” Reyes, 2004 World Pool champion Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan and recent Tokyo 9-Ball champion Ramil “Bebeng” Gallego leading the charge in the winners bracket and moving towards the knockout round of 32 at the Archaic Hall in Amagasaki Hyougo. Reyes scored a comfortable 9-7 victory over Ismael Paez of Mexico and will meet Indonesia's I. Ibrahim in the next round while Pagulayan who continues to be listed as representing Canada won his opening match with a sparkling performance against Taiwan's Yu-Lun Wu 9-4.

Facing off in the double round elimination where the winner breaks in a race-to-nine battle, Gallego scored an easy 9-5 win over South Korea's Yong-So Park, won a cliffhanger over Chinese-Taipei's Yu-Lun Wu 9-8 and then coasted past Takashi Fujiwara 9-5 . Gandy Valle also scored three big wins defeating Shin Sugimura 9-6, routing Takashi Arai 9-2 and repeating the feat with another 9-2 shellacking of Sheng-Hung Shih of Chinese-Taipei.

Veteran Rodolfo “Boy Samson” Luat played some excellent pool to defeat Yukioshi Yoseida 9-4, overcame Adam Abdulrahim of Indonesia 9-4 and then scored his biggest win so far with a solid 9-5 victory over touted American Max Eberle. Another veteran Antonio “Nikoy” Lining overwhelmed Chan Kang Kwang of Singapore 9-2 before easily disposing of Edy Hartono of Indonesia 9-5. Lanky Ronnie Alcano who starred in the Joss NE Tour in the US last year and was named “Rookie of the Year” lost his opening match against Tooru Setoyama of Japan in a nerve-wracking thriller 8-9 but quickly recovered to win back-to-back battles with Tomoo Takano 9-5 and Kanuhiko Matsumara 9-6.

Soft-spoken Warren Kiamco, runner-up in three legs of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour also had to struggle through the double round elimination phase to try and get into the round of 32 where the winner breaks in a race-to-eleven format of the knockout stage. Kiamco dropped his opening match to Hayakawa 5-9 but then charged back to overcome South Korea's Young-Joo Kim 9-2 and Masashi Sakata of Japan 9-4.

Franciso “Django” Bustamante was unlucky to lose an epic battle with Chinese-Taipei ace Sheng-Hung Shih 8-9 but quickly recovered with a smashing 9-2 victory over Nobuyuki Tsunutami 9-2. Also pushed to the losers side was rising star Marlon Manalo who was runner-up to Reyes in the World 8-Ball Championship . Manalo lost his opening match against Hidenobu Takanami 7-9 but quickly regained his touch to stay in contention with a 9-4 win over Japan's Yuulti Yano 9-4. Dennis Orcullo who entered the last 16 in the World Pool Championships in Taiwan played some exquisite pool to win his opening match over Hideo Shiraishi 9-2.