Gabica, Calasang Top Elims; Qualify For World 8-Ball Tourney

Marlon Manalo take his shot in his game with Elvis Calasang

MANILA, PHILIPPINES---Antonio Gabica and Elvis Calasang clinched slots in the main draw of 2008 World 8-Ball Championships set April 18 to 25 in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates after topping the qualification tournament last Saturday.

The Lapu-Lapu City pride Gabica, swept through the winner's brackets by disposing of James Al Ortega 7-2, Jeffrey de Luna 7-4, and Marlon Manalo 7-5, to secure the 1st spot in the Fujairah World 8-Ball event. The eight player's field invitational was held at the Star Billiards Center in Grace Village, Quezon City late Saturday and was supervised by tournament director Sol Gueco and assisted by Charly Lopez.

"He (Manalo) made error in the 11th racks ," said Gabica, a new member of the Philippine Billiards Development Foundation (PBDF).

While Calasang, a former pool instructor in Middle East, bounced back after losing his opening matche to Leonardo Didal 7-5, by beating Leonardo Andam 7-6, Dida, 7-4, and Manalo 7-4, to join Gabica in the tournament proper. The duo (Gabica and Calasang), are already assured $500 in the Fujairah World 8-Ball Championships with the winner getting the lion's share of $65,000. Ronato Alcano is the defending champion in the said event.

It was a bad break for Manalo, a runner-up to eventual champion Efren "Bata" Reyes in the 2005 edition of Fujairah World 8-Ball, who suffered a miscue in the 11th racks which allowed Gabica to clean up the table and reach the hill (6-5) in the race-to-7, winner's break format, double elimination tournament. Then Gabica took the 12th racks to escape a 7-5 victory over Manalo.

The pride of Mandaluyong City ace Manalo had a chance to snare the last slot waiting the results of Calasang and Didal in the loser's brackets. After Calasang overpowered Didal, he won the lag against Manalo and took the first rack. Manalo tied the game at 1-1 all. The match stayed close until 3-3 in the sixth rack when Calasang took control the game winning the next three racks for 6-3 lead.

Invited players such as Reyes, Francisco "Django" Bustamante, Dennis Orcollo, Lee Vann Corteza, Ramil "Bebeng" Gallego, Antonio "Nickoy" Lining and Warren Kiamco failed to participate because of varying reason.

Edgar Acaba, a veteran player who had headed a players association in the past and was an original incorporator of Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) also saw action but failed to advance into the main draw of Fujairah World 8-Ball after losing his matches against De Luna 7-5, and Dida, 7-2. He beat Ortega, 7-6, in the loser's brackets.

Photo courtesy of Rey Nillama