Filipinos With Early Losses In Jakarta From Stiff Asian Competition

Francisco Bustamante

Francisco "Django" Bustamante, looking for his first Asian tour win, lost to Taiwanese Hung-Hsiang Wang, 6-9, in the opening round of the final leg of the 2006 San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour Friday.

Bustamante, arrived in Jakarta Thursday afternoon confident that he will be performing at his best after showcasing an unrivaled hot-streak at the recently concluded IPT World 8-Ball Championship.

The former World pool runner up together with compatriot and Bangkok leg champion Ramil Gallego, then drew the earliest matches at 11:00am for the group stage during the players meeting on Thursday to start the Philippine campaign yesterday.

Although Bustamante won the lag, it was Wang who drew first blood as the Paranaque based cue artist had to push out in the opening rack with no clear shot on the yellow 1ball. But with a dry break from the Taiwanese in the very next rack, Bustamante easily evened the score with a rack run. From there, things were looking smooth for Bustamante as he took the third rack from Wang effortlessly. However, Ho Chi Minh leg semi finalist Wang had other plans in mind as he halted the confident stroke of the Filipino at the fourth rack.

With a rack run of his own and a foul by Bustamante in the fifth, Wang was able to score three straight racks to post an early advantage against the Pinoy favorite, 4-2.

The match proved to be an exhilarating start for the 9-ball competition as the two pool players then traded racks till the 14th with neither player willing to give up an advantage as both knew a single mistake could mean a pivotal momentum shift.

But as luck would have it, the Filipino bet could not seem to find a way to shut down the sweet shooting Wang who apparently brought his A-game to the table. With the score at 7-6, in favor of Wang, the lanky Taiwanese managed to clean out the remaining two racks to defeat Bustamante in the first round, 8-6.

On the other side of the competition venue, another Filipino suffered the same fate as Ramil Gallego was decimated by Japanese Masaaki Tanaka, 1-9.

Right from the start it was clear that the sleepy eyed Tanaka was focused to take the win. Brilliant shot making and excellent safeties from the Japanese left the Filipino with no chance but to take risky shots which ultimately led to his humbling loss.

Both Bustamante and Gallego need to triumph over their remaining group matches; Bustamante against Chinese Li He-Wen and Gallego versus local bet Apsi Chaniago, to have a chance to qualify for the quarterfinals.

Two Filipinos, headed by defending Jakarta champion Efren "Bata" Reyes, were waiting to take on separate foes as of press time. Reyes was going to clash with another local bet, Roy Apancho over in Group 2 while Kaohsiung leg winner Rodolfo Luat was going to battle Thai bet Amnuayporn Chotipong in Group 5.

This marks the second time that Jakarta will host a leg of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball. At this crucial final leg of 2006, the host country is represented by Ricky Yang, 2006 Kaohsiung semifinalist Muhammad Zulfikri, Dodong Alwi and Apsi Chanigo.

The quarterfinals will start at 09:30am (local time) today, September 16 and 11am for the SemiFinals and Finals on September 17.

STAR Sports will air the matches LIVE today at 1030-1630 for the Quarterfinals and 1200-1630 for the Semifinals and the Final match on Sunday.

The Tour is the only ranking tour in Asia for players to qualify to the World Pool Championship. The top ten finishers in the San Miguel Asian 9-ball Tour Order of Merit will automatically enter the 2006 World Pool Championship in November. Adding to the stakes will be a total tour prize money purse of $160,000 up for grabs in the four legs of the event.

The champion of each leg will earn the top prize of US$10,000 while the runner-up will settle for US$5,000. Aside from Ho Chi Minh City , Bangkok and Taiwan , the tour will also make a stop in Jakarta , Indonesia for its final leg.

This year promises to be more exciting as the tour will follow a new format. The main draw of 24 players will be divided into eight groups and they will compete in a single round robin format for the group stage with the top eight players advancing to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals onwards will follow a single game knockout format. There will be alternate breaks with the group stage and quarterfinals following a race to 9, while the semifinals and the finals will be a race to 11. In the semis and finals, a player must win by two clear racks up to a maximum of race to 13.

For more information on the Tour, please check out For the latest schedules and program information on ESPN STAR Sports, catch us on the net at

The San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour is sanctioned by the Asian Pocket Billiard Union and organized by ESPN STAR Sports Event Management Group (EMG) and the Kaohsiung City Government with the assistance of the Kaohsiung City Government Information Office & Education Bureau and the Kaohsiung City Billiard Committee. San Miguel Beer is the title sponsor for the Tour. Iwan Simonis and Aramith supply the official tablecloth and official balls respectively. Brunswick Metro is the official pool table. Han-Hsien International Hotel is the official partner hotel. STAR Sports is the official broadcaster.