Gallego Run Ends in Quarter Finals; Souquet is Champion

Ralf Souquet

Ramil “Bebeng” Gallego's magical run in the prestigious All Japan 9-Ball Championships at the Archaic Hall in Amagasaki Hyugo ended in the quarter finals when 2001 World Pool Champion Mika “The Iceman” Immonen who calls Manila his second home scored a resounding 11-5 triumph after earlier ousting rising star Dennis Orcullo also by a similar 11-5 score in the round of sixteen, yesterday. However, Immonen eventually lost to the German machine Ralf “The Kaiser” Souquet in a classic final 11-9.

In a report to Viva Sports, special correspondent Minoru Isomoto said Gallego, winner of the recent Tokyo 9-Ball Championship played excellent pool to whip Li He-Wen of Chinese-Taipei 11-3 in the round of sixteen but failed to duplicate the same form in the clash with Immonen who appears to have benefited from several tournaments in Manila and by his own accounts has almost mastered the game of the Filipinos.

Promising Marlon Manalo, the 2000 Asian snooker champion who has switched to 9-ball had also made a sterling run through the losers bracket but fell prey to the steady game of Japan's Yoshihira Kitatani in the round of sixteen and was ousted in a close encounter 11-8. Just like the Filipinos, Asian powerhouse Chinese-Taipei also saw its hopes vanish when 2000 World Pool Champion Fong Pang Chao who had shown his mastery of the tables from the opening day faltered badly and lost to Souquet 11-6 in the semi finals to set up an all-European final with Immonen. Souquet who appeared to leave his best pool for the last had earlier stopped the surprising run of Malaysia's Southeast Asian Games gold medallist Patrick Ooi 11-6.

Souquet who won the Derby City Classic 9-Ball Championship earlier this year as well as the Dutch Open has had a string of major championship victories in his illustrious pool career and the soft-spoken German whose slow and deliberate game sometimes irritates opponents like fiery Earl Strickland and even Immonen, added one more behind a solid break, precise pocketing and control of the cue ball. It was sweet revenge for Souquet who was routed by Immonen 11-3 in the UPA Championship finals in Atlanta earlier this year even as the more than $20,000 windfall comes just before Souquet celebrates his 36th birthday on November 29.

Prior to his victory, Souquet, according to AZBilliards had won $28,215 while Immonen's winnings were $29,204. Despite their ouster in the round of 32 Efren "Bata" Reyes and Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan who are among the stars of Puyat Sports headed by its president, the respected businessman-sportsman Aristeo "Putch" Puyat are leading the money winners list. Reyes' winnings this year amount to $101,650 while Pagulayan has collected a total of $101,183.