Mandaluyong 10-ball blasts off today

Marlon Manalo

THE LUCRATIVE Philippine Pool Tour gets off the ground today with the foreign-spiced, $30,000 Mandaluyong Mayor's Cup 10-ball championship presented by San Miguel not only dangling attractive prize money but a slot in the World Championship as well.

German top gun Thorsten Hohmann and American Johnny Archer, former world 9-ball champs, banner the foreign charge with reigning Asian Games gold medal winner Antonio Gabica and Marlon Manalo spearheading the local challenge.

Japanese No. 1 Satoshi Kawabata is also in the mix along with rising homegrown bet Jeffrey De Luna as they chase the $10,000 (roughly P420,000) winner's purse and a place in the main draw of the World tilt set in September.

The Philippine Pool Tour will have five total legs before the end of the year and it will be highlighted by the World 10-Ball championship where the biggest names in the world will be vying for purses bigger than that of the past two WPC 9-ball tilts here.

Ten-Ball is the emerging sport in the globe as it makes for more exciting action with the blue-striped 10 protected better to ensure that the power break is utilized more often and racks are contested longer.

Gabica and De Luna are the winners of the last two local championships, the San Miguel RP 9-Ball and Manny Pacquiao Invitational, respectively, while Manalo is a literal hometown bet, being raised in Mandaluyong.

Tournament format calls for double elimination, meaning, a player would have to lose twice before getting the boot with second place still worth $4,000 as prize money for the top 32 places will be awarded.

Action starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Atrium and Kaban ng Hiyas Auditorium of the Mandaluyong City Hall.

All eyes are this event are expected to be on Manalo, the 2005 Reno Open champion and son of Mandaluyong.

And of particular interest would be a return match, if ever, with the mild-mannered Hohmann, who humbled Manalo in the finals of the 2006 IPT North America 8-Ball Championship.

After this stop in Mandaluyong, the Tour will travel to Puerto Princesa in Palawan next month before going to Cebu, Davao, Olongapo and then to Pasay for the final leg, which would sandwich the world tilt in September.

File photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe