Home Town Heroes Win Through

Round 1 Results
India 8 – 7 Finland
Philippines B 8 – 4 Kuwait
Korea 8 – 5 Spain
Japan 8 – 3 Croatia
Switzerland 8 – 5 China
Sweden 8 – 7 Indonesia
2006 and 2009 PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool Champions Philippines B, comprised of Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante, made their way into the last 16 of this year's event with an 8-4 victory over plucky debutants Kuwait at the SM Mall North in Manila.
Nobody gave the Kuwait pair of Khaled Al Mutaira and Omar Al Shaheen any kind of hope but they did themselves proud, sticking with the Filipino pair in the early stages before succumbing down the home stretch.
Both sides wore snappy outfits based on their national flags, but it was the home side that the packed crowd had come to see. As predicted the Philippines started well and took the first two racks fairly quickly.
As huge underdogs, the Kuwaiti duo of Al Mutaira and Al Shaheen though were under no pressure at all, and that showed as they won the next two to silence the crowd.
The Philippines won the next two to restore their lead but the game Kuwaiti pair took the next to leave it poised at 4-3. A cracking long pot in the next from Bustamante set the Philippines on their way to taking the rack as the score stood at 5-3.
Reyes, who looked shaky in front of a home crowd in his World Pool Masters match earlier in the week, was anything but this time as he pulled out a few stunners from his never ending arsenal of shots.
One such reversed bank shot, set up a run out to move the score to 6-3. A miss from Bustamante on the 5 ball in the next gave the Kuwaitis a chance and they took it to cut the lead.
That would be the last meaningful effort from Team Kuwait and when they conceded the 9 ball in what was the last rack of the match to hand Philippines B an 8-4 win.
“It was good win and we can be pleased with that,” said Bustamante.
“The Kuwait team came to play and gave us a good match but we're delighted to make it into the next round and hopefully we can go on from there.”
The PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool takes place at the Block Atrium at the SM Mall North in Quezon City, Manila. It features 32 two-player teams representing 31 nations – hosts Philippines have two sides. The total prize-fund is $250,000 with $60,000 going to the winning pair.
Earlier, India enjoyed a thrilling win at the PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool as they almost threw away a glorious lead against Finland but came back at the death to clinch a memorable victory.
The scene was set when Team India strode into the arena, lead by a glamourous model scattering rose petals ahead of them. It was an audacious move, as the pairing of Raj Hundal and Amar Kang, with eye-catching national shirts, brought a touch of Bollywood to the SM Mall in Quezon City.
Their opponents were a blend of youth and experience as Mika Immonen, a finalist in this event in 2007, was accompanied by Petri Makkonen, a 23 year old making his World Cup debut.
India moved ahead and at 5-1 up, the match looked to be as good as over. However, the nerves came in and the Finnish pair started to claw back the racks. India though, reached the hill at 7-3 and that's when the drama started.
A ball-in-hand chance gave the Finns the next and then Kang missed the red 3 by some distance and the score soon became 7-5.
Makkonen played a blinder in the next, potting the four ball from a tough position, to give the Finns a chance in the 13th rack. He then enjoyed an outrageous piece of good fortune. Left with an angled table length shot on the 9 ball, the young Finn hit it hard and it stayed out.
It hit the opposite rail and rolled ever so slowly up table, seemingly stuck to the white in its latter stages before falling into the pocket on its very last roll. That made it 7-6 to the Indians but that became 7-7 when the Finns nervously ran out the rack.
India had their chance in the final rack after a poor safety from Immonen and every shot was a tester. Kang played a good shot to screw back for the 7 and they completed the run out to move into the next round and record their first ever win in the World Cup of Pool.
"I'm not sure that the wheels came off when we were leading but there's a lot of pressure out there. Petri missed a 9-ball by a country mile and fluked it but that's pool,” said Hundal.
Kang commented, "There was a lot of pressure in the first few games and I just tried to settle down but I enjoyed it all."
The 2011 World Cup of Pool is sponsored by PartyPoker.net, the world's leading online poker school. Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis, Super Aramith balls by Saluc, tables by Star Xing Pai and the Official Cue is Predator.