Gallego Rules Japan Open

Ramil Gallego

Ramil "Bebeng” Gallego trounced Li-wen Ro of Chinese-Taipei, 9-3, in the finals, 9-3, to complete a sweep and rule the 2008 Japan Open 9-Ball Championship last weekend in Tokyo, Japan.

Gallego, a member of the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP), thus became the fifth straight Filipino to rule the prestigious event participated by more than 400 cue artists from all over the world.

To reach the finals, Gallego hurdled past compatriot Efren "Bata" Reyes (9-2) in the quarterfinals and Japan's Tanaka Masaki (9-3) in the semifinal round.

Ro, on the other hand, edged fellow Taiwanese Pin-Yi Ko (9-8) in the quarterfinals and stunned former World Pool king Alex Pagulayan (9-4) in the semis.

Francisco "Django" Bustamante, the fourth Filipino competitor in the tournament, bowed to Pagulayan (6-9) in the quarterfinal round.

While being interviewed by a Japanese reporter on TV, Gallego was teary-eyed because he said he wanted to win this title very badly.

With the win, Gallego followed the footsteps of former Japan Open champions Dennis Orcollo (2008), Pagulayan (2007), Antonio Lining (2006), Reyes (2005) and Bustamante (2002).

Gallego nearly captured the Japan Open crown in 2003 but lost in the finals.

It was his first title since winning the Manny Villar Cup Bulacan leg in July 2008.