Guinness 9Ball Tour Moves On To Taiwan

Following a successful inaugural staging in Jakarta, STAR Sports continues its coverage of top-notch pool competition as the 2007 Guinness 9-Ball Tour continues onward to its second stop at the harbour city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan on May 18 – 20, 2007.

Last month, the opening leg in Jakarta gave way to a classic showdown between long time pool rivals, Philippines and Taiwan as they clashed all the way from the group stages to the finals where two young cue-masters upstaged their older and more experienced counter-parts.

Ultimately, it was Taiwan 's Jung-Lin Chang, a relative newcomer to the tour, who emerged the victor in Jakarta after showcasing superb pocketing skills and accurate power braking to topple the 2007 Philippines ' National Champion Lee Vann Corteza, in the championship race to the top of the 9-ball hill.

Asked about his opinion on the young generation of players, reigning double world champion (8ball and 9ball) Ronato Alcano remarked: “Well it's good that they are finally coming out. Before there were only a couple of really great players like Chao Fong-Pang but now the competition has really opened up. The young players such as Muhammad Zulfikri ( Indonesia ), Chang and Wu Chia-Ching are good for the development of pool.”

With Lin claiming the title in Indonesia, the Philippines' dream of a repeat performance of last year's all-Filipino sweep of the tour has been completely shattered, giving the distinct impression that the competition field, heralded as Asia's elite, just keeps getting better and better every time. More importantly, with the Guinness 9ball tour showcasing a couple of young players like Chang and Jeffrey De Luna of the Philippines, the world got a first-hand look at the new breed of up and coming pool stars who are raring to stake their claim of glory and bask in the international limelight.

As the tournament shifts to Kaohsiung, fans of the sport can expect a re-energized Filipino squad, fronted by Alcano, 2004 World Pool Champion Alex Pagulayan, 2006 DOHA Asian Games 9ball Gold Medalist Antonio Gabica and 2006 Japan Open Winner Antonio Lining, together with a solid cast of Asia's finest pool players, to try to steal the show in Kaohsiung and snatch the crown away from the hometown favorites in hopes earning enough qualifying points towards the World Pool Championships in November.

Launched in February 2003, the annual 9ball Tour is Asia's only premier 9ball tournament featuring many of the best pool players Asia has produced such as 2005 tour champion Yang Ching-Shun and billiard phenom, Chia-Ching Wu, both from Chinese Taipei, along with Ronato Alcano and Alex Pagulayan.

Besides the stellar trio of Chang, Yang and Wu, the host country is represented by Fong-Pang Chao and Yu-Lun Wu.

Competition will start at 1100hrs (HKT) on May 18, 1300hrs on May 19 and 1130hrs on May 20. Admission to the competition venue is free. Fans of the sport are invited to witness the 9ball drama unfold at the Kaohsiung Business Exhibition Center.

STAR Sports will be dedicating fifteen (15) hours of LIVE coverage for this thrilling second leg of the 2007 Guinness 9Ball Tour. The matches will be aired LIVE (HKT) on May 18 at 1700-2130hrs for the preliminaries, 1300-1900hrs for the Quarterfinals on May 19 and 1130-1600 hrs for the Semifinals and the Final match on May 20.

The Tour is the only ranking tour in Asia for players to qualify to the World Pool Championship. The top ten finishers in the Guinness 9ball Tour Order of Merit will automatically enter the 2007 World Pool Championship at Manila in November. Adding to the stakes will be a total tour prize money purse of $320,000 up for grabs in the six legs of the event.

The champion of each leg will earn the top prize of US$15,000 while the runner-up will settle for US$6,000. The winner of the grand finals in Bali, will acquire US$36,000. Kaohsiung is the second stop for this year's 9ball tour after which there will be tournaments in Malaysia , Singapore , Shanghai and a grand final in Bali , Indonesia . Prior to this current leg, the Guinness 9Ball Tour held the opening tournament in Jakarta .

Following the exciting format that was adopted last year, the tour promises both players and spectators alike an exhilarating pool experience throughout the contest. The main draw of 24 players will be divided into eight groups and they will compete in a single round robin format for the group stage with the top eight players advancing to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals onwards will follow a single game knockout format. There will be alternate breaks with the group stage and quarterfinals following a race to 9, while the semifinals and the finals will be a race to 11. In the semis and finals, a player must win by two clear racks up to a maximum of race to 13.

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