Gomez Beats Kiamco in Villar Cup Isabela Leg

Roberto Gomez

Roberto Gomez clawed back from a poor start and outlasted Warren Kiamco, 11-9 in the finals of the Isabela leg to become the first two-time champion of The Manny Villar Cup, which concluded its seventh stop before a huge crowd at the La Salette High School Gymnasium in Santiago City, Friday.
“I really love Villar Cup!” screamed Gomez after closing out what was so far the most thrilling title match in this prestigious island-hopping series presented by Senator Manny Villar's Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine Sports.
“Here in the Villar Cup my string of runner-up finishes finally ended. Not only that I am now the first double champion which makes me very, very happy" added the 30-year-Gomez who also won the tour's Davao Leg in August 2008.
The title conquest earned Gomez the coveted Villar Cup trophy and the P300,000 cash prize handed out by Billiards Managers and Players Association president Atty. Vic Rodriguez, who represented Senator Villar in the awarding ceremony, which was followed by a courtesy call on Santiago City Mayor Amy Navarro.
It was not a walk in the park for the 2007 World Pool Championship runner-up, who came into the tournament looking to bounce back from a runner-up finish in the Villar Cup Panagbenga leg in Baguio City last February, where he lost to Francisco “Django” Bustamante in the finals.
He opened his campaign against local qualifier Alvin Alcantara and he had to use his experience to the hilt in dodging the upset ax and escape with a 9-7 win. He also had to shake off a poor start before prevailing in his next two matches against Michael Feliciano (9-6) and Ruben Cuna (9-5).
In the semifinals, Gomez likewise started out slow before pulling through with a 10-6 victory over Bulacan leg titlist and newly-crowned Japan Open champion Ramil Gallego to advance into his third finals stint in this series co-organized by the BMPAP, sponsored by Camella Communities and sanctioned by the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines .
There, Gomez lost the lag, as well as the first three racks, and allowed Kiamco to control the first half of the match.
Kiamco, who made it to the championship match after upending Efren “Bata” Reyes, 10-4 in their Final Four encounter, was leading 6-3, when his shot of the orange-5 rattled out giving Gomez a chance to clean up the 10th rack, which he did.

That proved to be the turning point of the match as Gomez took four of the next five racks to steal the lead for the first time at 8-7..
Kiamco managed to tie the count a couple of times, the last at 9-all, before Gomez pocketed the next two to win the match.
Kiamco, who won the inaugural Alabang leg, settled for runner-up honors worth P120,000.
Gomez is set to make his debut in the US circuit next week when he competes in the Predator International 10-Ball Championship.
Gomez said "this is a great tune-up and the win will boost my confidence. I hope I could perform well there and bring honor for our country.”