Gallego Wins Bangkok Leg Of SMB Asian 9-Ball Tour

Ramil Gallego

Veteran Campaigner Ramil "Bebeng" Gallego of the Philippines defeated Hong Kong's Au Chi Wai in an 11 - 8 come from behind victory in the championship round to emerge champion in the just concluded Bangkok leg of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour Sunday at the Bang Na Hall in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Japan-based Gallego got off to a poor start allowing Au to take a 5 - 1 advantage in the event organized by ESPN STAR Sports.

However, the cue artist originally from Bacolod City, didn't lost confidence as he rallied and scored the next five racks to seize the upper hand, 6 - 5.

After splitting the next two racks with Au, Gallego then extended the gap to 8 - 6 after the Hong Kong player's dry break and foul in the 14th rack.

Gallego had a dry break himself in the 15 th, but the 2004 Tokyo 9-Ball champion managed to keep Au at bay and sit on the hill, 10 - 8. The Filipino then closed out the match as the appreciative pro-Filipino crowd led by Philippine Ambassador Antonio Rodriguez roared in approval.

"I never lost hope even when I was behind. I knew that I had a chance to catch up, "said Gallego, who was a replacement for 2004 World Pool champion Alex Pagulayan.

Gallego's victory earned for himself the top prize of $10,000 or roughly P530,000. Au, a snooker specialist from the former crown colony, settled for $5,000.

Earlier in the day, Gallego scored a come-from-behind 11 - 8 triumph over two-time World Pool champion Chao Fong Pang of Chinese Taipei.

The Tour moves on to Kaohsiung, Taiwan in August before concluding in Jakarta in September.

The Asian Tour is the only ranking tour in Asia for players to qualify to the World Pool Championship. The top ten finishers at the end of this year's Tour will automatically enter the World Pool Championships. A total money purse of $40,000 is up for grabs in each leg of the event.

Now in its fourth year, the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour is offering a top prize of US$10,000 for the champion of each leg and US$5,000 to the runner-up.

Last year saw Yang claim the Kaohsiung leg and finish runner-up in two other legs. Filipinos won the other three legs: Gandy Valle ( Singapore), Reyes (Jakarta) and former AZ billiards rookie of the year Ronato "Ronnie Calamba" Alcano (Manila).

The San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour is sanctioned by the Asian Pocket Billiard Union and organized by ESPN STAR Sports' Event Management Group (EMG). San Miguel Beer is the title sponsor for the Tour. Iwan Simonis and Aramith supply the official tablecloth and official balls respectively. Brunswick Metro is the official pool table. STAR Sports is the official broadcaster.

Besides the total prize money of US$160,000, the top 10 players on the Tour Order of Merit every year will directly qualify into the World Pool Championship.

For more information on the Tour, please check out For the latest schedules and program information on ESPN STAR Sports, catch us on the net at

File photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe