Gabica Joins RP Force in World Pool Championship

Asia Games gold medalist Antonio ?Gabica has joined the twelve-man Philippine force in the 2007 World Pool Championship which opens at the famed Araneta Coliseum on November 3.

Gabica was given the privilege of a wild card spot in the most prestigious pool event in the world by Matchroom Sport. It was in recognition of Gabica?s achievements in high-ranking Asia and Philippine events.

Gabica won the San Miguel Beer Philippine 9-Ball Open defeating defending World Pool Champion Ronnie Alcano in the finals with Francisco ?Django? Bustamante third and Efren ?Bata? Reyes fourth in a star-studded field. He also finished runner-up to Warren Kiamco in the 8-Ball division of the US Bar Table Championships at the Sands Regency in Reno and finished runner-up in two Blaze Tour stops.

Gabica is considered a darkhorse among the Filipinos and Perry Mariano who manages a number of pool players including defending World Pool Champion Alcano has picked Gabica and veteran Bustamante as the two players capable of pulling off a major surprise in the tournament which ends on November 11 in a race-to-seventeen final.

Meantime, on the opening day of the WPC qualifiers, Chinese-Taipei and Japan, two countries challenging the Philippines for supremacy in pool, sent two more players into the main draw of 128.

In an all-Chinese-Taipei final Lu Hui-Chan defeated countryman Ching Yu-lung 9-2 in the first finals while Japan?s Kenichi Ichigaki won handily over Vietnam?s Do Huang Quan in the second qualifier.

Filipino players failed to make any impression in the first two of ten qualifiers and were ousted in the early rounds. Tournament coordinator Sol Gueco noted that ?the field is very competitive this year? adding that ?some think the qualifier format is tougher than that of the WPC main draw.?