Filipinos Top Seeds in Asian 9 Ball Groupings

The four Filipino pool superstars competing in the prestigious San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour which opens in the Nguyen Du Sports Hall in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam today have been seeded No.1 in their respective groups while three Taiwanese hotshots have also been seeded at the top of their groups.

2004 World Pool Champion Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan is the top seed in Group 1, rising star "Marvelous" Marlon Manalo heads Group 3, former world No.1 Francisco "Django" Bustamante heads Group 4 while Efren "Bata" Reyes is on top of the three player roster in Group 5. The winner of each group in the round robin format will advance to the quarter finals in the race -to-nine, alternate break.

Last year's overall champion, the sensational Taiwanese Yang Ching-shun is seeded No.1 in Group 8, veteran Fong Pang Chao heads Group 7 and last year's World Pool Champion, teenage sensation Wu Chia Ching has been listed No.1 in Group 2. The fourth player who will join the hotshots from Taiwan is Wang Huang hsiang.

The only outsider who earned the right to be a top seed was Malaysia's Patrick Ooi who heads Group 6. There was no word as of press time who among the remaining 16 players were drawn in the various groups. The sixteen include four players from the host nation Vietnam led by Nguyen Thanh Nam and including Luong Chi Dong, Vu Trong Khai and Nguyen Phuong Thao. Japan's lone entry is Masaaki Tanaka.

Hong Kong will be represented by Au Chi Wai who was beaten by Yang Ching Shun in the finals in Kaohsiung last year while Korea's entry is Jeong Young-Hwa who was runner-up to Reyes in Taipei in 2004.

The other entries are Xu Meng and Li He-Wen of China, Nurdin Abuba and Imran Ibrahim of Indonesia, Sundeep Gulati of India, Chan Keng-Kwang of Singapore, Tepwin Arunnath and Amnuayporn Chotipong of Thailand.

Reyes, acknowledged around the world as "The Magician" because of his incredible shot-making is among the top favorites to win the opening leg. The 1999 World Pool Champion won the Jakarta leg last year beating Yang 11-6 and was the overall champion in the first two years of the San Miguel Asian 9Ball Tour winning the Manila Tour stop in 2003 and the Singapore, Ho Chi Minh and Taipei stops in 2004.