Lining rebounds, Martinez makes it into WTBC Main Draw

World Ten Ball Championship (WTBC) qualifier Jundel Mazon was right after all. It's hard to beat Antonio Lining in a tight match.

A day after getting blown out by Mazon, Lining grinded his way to the WTBC main draw with a pulsating 9-8 victory over Han Hao Xiang of China in Qualifier 8 final Sunday night at the Star Billiards Center.

Mazon related on Saturday that the key to beat Lining is to build a big lead early in the match. Han failed to do that and Lining made him pay.

The hill-hill thriller lasted 2 ½ hours, the longest in the qualifying sessions with two rounds to play.

The pride of Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro became the sixth Filipino qualifier in the only world championship in pool this year. The number of Filipinos in the main draw also swelled to 17.

The locals took the last four seats in the qualifying sessions.

Earlier, Emil Martinez toppled Kazuo Furuta of Japan in the Qualifier 7 final, 9-5, to keep the Filipino streak alive.

It was easily the biggest triumph in the pool career of Martinez, a virtual nobody heading into the competition.

The other Filipino qualifiers were Ramil “Bebeng” Gallego, Michael Feliciano, Roberto Gomez and Mazon. The only foreigners to enter the main draw through the qualifying round were Wang Ming of China and Chang Pei-wei of Taiwan.

It's a pretty remarkable run by the Filipinos considering that more than a hundred foreign players entered the qualifying sessions, including those from noted pool playing nations like Japan, Taiwan, Great Britain, Indonesia and China.