Marlon Manalo Off to Good Start in Puerto Pool Tour

Marlon Manalo

PUERTO PRINCESA – MARLON "MARVELOUS" MANALO, the 2005 World Pool Championships 3rd placer, got off to a good start in the Puerto Princesa Mayor's Cup, the second leg of the Philippine Pool Tour Ten Ball event here at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum Friday.
The 30-year-old Manalo, who hails from Mandaluyong City and is one of the top players of Philippine Billiards Development Foundation (PBDF) outlasted Te-Chung Chien of Chinese-Taipei, 9-6, to face youthful sensation Jordan Legaspi of Bocaue, Bulacan in the next round, a 9-7 winner over Mario "Aklan" Tolentino.
"I was just lucky in the end game," Manalo referring his three consecutive racks to reach the hill at 8-5 count before beating Chien, 9-6, in this double-elimination format organized by the Billiards and Snookers Congress of the Philippines in partnership with Star Billiards Center and supported by San Miguel Beer and Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn and the city of information office headed by Alroben Goh.
" I hope to perform well in this event," added Manalo, who bowed to eventual winner and 2006 Doha Asian Games 9-Ball gold medalist Antonio "Ga-Ga" Gabica in the finals of the 1st leg Mandaluyong Mayor's Cup of Philippine Pool Tour.
Sharing the limelight is 2006 Doha Asian Games 9-ball silver medalist Jeffrey "The Bull" De Luna, also a member of the PBDF who crushed veteran internationalist Edgar "Malabon" Acaba, 9-1, to set up a rematch with his former rival in the Guinness 9-Ball event reigning World Junior Champion Pin-Yi Ko of Taiwan, who beat little-known  Junbert Ogang, 9-3. Ko defeated De Luna, 9-3, in the quarterfinals of the Taipei leg.
Taking advantage of his breaking power against an older opponent, the good-looking De Luna wasted no time and raced to an early 8-0 cushion. He did miss in the ninth rack and allowed Acaba to notch his first point, but finished the job in the 10th when his veteran rival muffed the green ball No.6.
 "I respect him (Edgar Acaba) so much because he is a veteran player" said De Luna, who barely made the cut for the Puerto Princesa tournament after emerging from the loser's bracket. Acaba conceded afterwards with still three balls remaining.
"I didn't expect to have this win so easy because all the competitors here are considered favorites," said Ko thru his interpreter Hans Lu, owner of Pool Fusion Billiard Hall in Manila. "It's going to be a more difficult match facing De Luna."

Ko, who became widely-acknowledged for coming back from a 4-14 deficit before beating Dennis Orcollo, 15-14, in the Thailand Open, had a strong start this time.
The crowd favorite Ko raced to a 2-0 lead, padded the advantage to 8-3 before closing out the win to the delight of the screaming teenage fans.
Against Ko, De Luna believes breaks of the game will be will be an advantage considering that it will be a winner's break format.
Hagedorn lauded the opening of the event where he is joined by several sports personalities that include Air21 owner and Philippine cycling head Bert Lina, Billiards and Snookers Congress of the Philippines chairman and head of Raya Sports Yen Makabenta, long-time billiards supporter and Star Billiards head Sebastian Chua and motocross legend Butch Chase.
"This is line with the campaign of the city to become the sports capital of the Philippines," said Mayor Hagedorn, whose city also hosted Batang Pinoy, Olympic Boxing qualifier, PBA games, Sepak Takraw International and Palawan Open Chess to name a few."
 Also winning yesterday were reigning World 8-Ball champion Ralf Souquet of Germany and giant-slayer Kenji Taguchi of Japan
Souquet made short work of unheralded Oliver Villafuerte, 9-2, while Taguchi crushed Rocky Tullao, 9-4. All participants in this $30,000 event are guaranteed $200 with the winner pocketing $10,000.