Gabica, Flores, Takano Notch Back to Back Wins

ANTONIO "Ga-Ga' Gabica and unheralded Bob Flores blasted their respective opponents yesterday to remain in the title hunt of the $30,000 Mandaluyong Mayor's Cup ten-ball championship at the Kaban ng Hiyas Building in Mandaluyong City.

Gabica, who is aiming for another title-shot after winning the 2007 San Miguel Corporation Philippine 9-Ball Open, beat Richard Rollo 9-5 in the first round then subdued Silverio Tulabing, 9-4 in the second round. Flores, a relative unknown in the local pool scene, crushed Ken Escano, 9-6, and Michael Mengorio, 9-4, respectively.

"I hope to sustain my winning ways," said the 35-year-old Lapu-Lapu City (Cebu) pride Gabica, who needed to beat former world champions Efren "Bata" Reyes in the semis and Ronato "Volcano" Alcano in the finals to win the 2007 San Miguel Corporation Philippine 9-Ball Open.

Tomoo Takano of Japan also notched back to back wins by demolishing Alvin De Guzman 9-4 and Elmer "Buddy" Kalaquian 9-8 respectively, to strengthen his bid in this $10,000 top prize event which is presented by San Miguel Beer in close cooperation with League Cities of the Philippines and hosted by mayor Benhur Abalos. Official billiard table is Brunswick billiard table.

Meanwhile, Marlon Manalo, Jeffrey De Luna and former world 9-ball champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany followed in the foot-steps of the opening day winners that included another ex-world 9-ball champion Johnny Archer of the United States, 2006 Asian Games 8-ball gold medalist Satoshi Kawabata of Japan and Chieh-Te Chung of Taiwan.

The 2005 WPA World Pool Championships 3rd placer Manalo, who hails from Mandaluyong City, nipped Luis Saberdo 9-6. De Luna, the 2006 Asian Games 9-ball silver medalist, nipped John Berile of France 9-3, and Hohmann trounced Benigno Lopez De Leon, 9-2, late Tuesday.

In other matches, US campaigner Ramon "Maestro Monching" Mistica and Japan tour stalwart Armando "Agila" Cagol bowed in their respective opening assignments.

Mistica from Murphy, Quezon City succumbed to John Carlo Cerna, 9-6, while the Caloocan City based Cagol yielded to Cebu ace John Albert Refulle, 9-5.

Other notable winners in the opening round were James Al Ortega, Gilbert Carbonera, Lester Dulawan, Allan Soliman, Raymond Faraon, Gerry Watson of Canada and Kenji Taguchi and Yong Bak Wang of Japan.

After this stop in Mandaluyong, the Tour will travel to Puerto Princesa in Palawan next month before going to Cebu, Davao, Olongapo and then to Pasay for the final leg, which would sandwich the world tilt in September.