Manalo In Sensational Win Over Yang

"Marvelous" Marlon Manalo scored an incredible comeback from 1-8 down to score a sensational win over Chinese-Taipei hotshot Ching-Shun Yang 9-8 to keep the Philippine team ahead of Taiwan 17 points to 13 in the three-day dual meet for "Pride and Glory" staged by Solar Sports at the Octagon Hall of Robinson's Galeria going into Thursday's doubles matches that would decide which team pockets the top prize of $40,000 which is just over P2.2 million with the losing squad earning $20,000 or some P1.1 million.

Under the format a victory in singles is worth 2 points while the loser gets 1 while in the doubles matches, the winning duo earns 4 points and the losers 2. Aside from Manalo other Filipino winners on day two were Dennis Orcullo who whipped Chi Wei Fu 9-5, Antonio Gabica who routed Pei Wei Chang, runner up to Alex Pagulayan at the recent World Pool Championship in Taipei. Taiwan's victories were scored by 2000 World Pool Champion Fong Pang Chao who followed up his opening day victory over Manalo with an impressive 9-2 over Antonio "Nikoy" Lining 9-2 while young World Pool semi finalist Po-Cheng Kuo scored his first win, beating Gandy Valle 9-7.

Yang, two-time Asian Games gold medallist and San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour star, started off in tremendous form pocketing the 9-ball in the opening rack after winning the lag. After Yang raced to a 4-0 lead in the winner breaks format, Manalo pulled one back to make it 4-1. But Yang quickly re-established the rhythm of his game with a spectacular break on the eighth rack, smashing six balls into the pockets to get on the hill at 8-1. Just when it seemed over, Yang scratched allowing Manalo the smallest of opportunities which he grabbed to rattle off four racks in a row to inch to within three racks at 8-5.

Manalo, to the chagrin of local pool fans came up empty on his break in the 14th rack but Yang failed to capitalize enabling the youthful Filipino considered the most promising among the new breed of pool artists after his giant-killing run at the World Pool Championships in Taipei when he beat Yang, Efren "Bata" Reyes and Francisco "Django" Bustamante in succession, to make it 8-6. Despite his inability to pocket a ball on the break in the next three racks, the balls rolled perfectly for Manalo who ran-out with ease every time he came to the table even as Yang wilted under the pressure. With the score tied at 8-8 Manalo completed his amazing comeback with a classic 2-9 combo to the delight of the late night crowd and set the stage for a enthralling series of deciding doubles matches on the final day.