Lining Tops Japan Open; Calauag-Lopez Quezon bet is runner-up

Antonio Lining

PINAMALAYAN ORIENTAL MINDORO NATIVE Antonio “Nickoy” Lining received worth 1500000 yen (Forex P43.00 approximately P645,000) champion's purse by edging compatriot and defending champion Efren “Bata” Reyes, 9-4, in the last 8 and Calauag-Lopez, Quezon pride Dondon Razalan, 9-3, in the finals of the just concluded 2006 Japan Open 9-Ball Billiards Championships in Tokyo, Japan last Sunday.

Earlier, Lining nipped local bet Kazuhiko Yamauchi, 9-2, in the semis to arranged an all Filipino Finals against unheralded but talented Razalan who upset heavy weight Satoshi Kawabata, 9-8, of Japan in other pair of final four. Despite loss, Razalan will bring home the runner-up prize worth 60,000 yen. He also took the scalped fellow Pinoy cue "giant killer" Ruel Esquillo, 9-3, in other last 8 matches.

It shall be recalled that Lining wound up third placer in the 2005 SMB Asian 9-ball tour Manila leg which toppled by eventual winner Ronnie “Calamba” Alcano and runner-up Taiwanese pool star Yang Chin-Shun ng Chinese-Taipei. He landed at 81st placers in the 2005 World Pool Championships which won by host bet 16-years-old Wu-Chia Ching.

Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) president Ernesto “Ernie” Fajardo lauded Filipino cue master feats in International areña, “Base from the back to back results of the Filipinos (Reyes, Pagulayan, Orcollo and Kiamco winning in the US soil) and (Lining and Razalan in Japan Open) I believe and confident that we have strong chances in the World Pool meet here in Manila on November and the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar on December”.

New billiards patron Perry Mariano who personally welcomed the arrival of his ward Antonio “Ga-Ga” Gabica yesterday in the Centennial International Airport also gave a message regarding the Filipino invasion in Japan again.

“This result proved that Filipinos are one of the best in the world. It would not be surprise for us if a Filipino will win the World Pool Championships,” Mariano recalled Bata Reyes and Alex Pagulayan triumph in the 1999 Cardiff, Wales and 2004 Taiwan edition respectively.

Gabica and former world no.1 Francisco “Django” Bustamante finished in the last 16. Kazuhiko Yamauchi ousted Gabica, 9-4, while former world champ Takeshi Okumura nipped Busutamante, 9-3. However, Esquillio shocked last year runner-up Rodolfo Luat “Boy Samson” Luat, 9-8.

In the distaff side, 2005 SEA Games double gold winner Rubilen “Bingkay” Amit make it to the last 8 while Iris Rañola landed in the last 16.

“I am unlucky against Yamauchi,” said the 24-years-old Amit who loss to Kimiko Yamauchi in a heart-breaking 6-8 sorry loss.

Amit loss to Charlotte Sorensen, 5-6, in her debut in the 2006 World Championships won by 2005-06 champ Ga Young Kim of South Korea.

Su I Yun of Chinese-Taipei, on the other hand, took the title after besting Yukiko Hamanishi, 8-2, in the Japan Open women's finals.

Men Last 16
Kazuhiko Yamauchi (JPN) 9-4 Antonio Gabica(Phi)
Takeshi Okumura (JPN) 9-3 Francisco Busutamante(Phi)
Antonio Linning (Phi) 9-4 Yuichi Yano (JPN)
Efren Reyes (Phi) 9-8 Takeo Kawachi(JPN)
Satoshi Kawabata (JPN) 9-1 Loi Li-Wen(CTP)
Tadashi Sugihara (JPN) 9-8 Takashi Uraoka(JPN)
Ruel Esquillio (Phi) 9-8 Rodolfo Luat(Phi)
Don Don Razalan (Phi) 9-8 Masaaki Tanaka (JPN)

Men Last 8
Kazuhiko Yamauchi (JPN) 9-5 Takeshi Okumura (JPN)
Antonio Lining(Phi) 9-4 Efren Reyes(Phi)
Satoshi Kawabata (JPN) 9-5 Tadashi Sugihara (JPN)
Don Don Razalan(Phi) 9-3 Ruel Esquillio(Phi)

Men Semi Final
Antonio Linning (Phi) 9-2 Kazuhiko Yamauchi(JPN)
Don Don Razalan(Phi) 9-8 Satoshi Kawabata(JPN)

Men Final
Antonio Linning(Phi) 9-3 Don Don Razalan(Phi)

Women Last 8
Su I-Yun(CTP) 8-7 Ritsuko Goto(JPN)
Kimiko Yamauchi (JPN) 8-6 Rubilen Amit (Phi)
Yukiko Hamanishi(JPN) 8-6 Akio ohtani(JPN)
Akimi Kajitani (JPN) 8-6 Kyoko Sone (JPN)

Women Semi Final
Su I-Yun(CTP) 8-3 Kimiko Yamauchi(JPN)
Yukiko Hamanishi(JPN) 8-7 Akimi Kajitani(JPN)

Women Final
Su I-Yun(CTP) 8-2 Yukiko Hamanishi(JPN)