Merry Mix in Guangzhou Quarterfinals

Alex Pagulayan

It won't be a battle between just two countries anymore as five different nations will be represented when the quarterfinals of the penultimate leg of the Guinness 9 Ball Tour 2008 take place tomorrow at the Garden Hotel in Guangzhou, China.
Three Taiwanese, two Filipinos, a Singaporean, a Korean and a Japanese make up the quarterfinal cast following today's group stages.
Defending Grand Final champion Jung Lin Chang of Chinese Taipei made his way back to the quarterfinals. Chang, who was unceremoniously booted out by Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines in the group stages of the Singapore leg, topped Group A after victories over China's Dang Jin Hu and Indonesia's Nurdin Abuba.
In a rematch of the Penang leg final, Chang will face countryman Hung Hsiang Wang in the next round at 12 noon tomorrow. Wang ruled Group B after beating local bet Mei Yi Fei and Hong Kong's Han Hao Xiang.
Toh Lian Han gave Singapore fans a lot to cheer about as he barged into the quarterfinals after sweeping his matches in today's group stages  The 35-year old gave Singapore a much - needed breakthrough victory as none of its players reached the quarterfinals in the previous four legs this year.
Up next for Toh's in the quarterfinals is current WPA World No. 1 Orcollo who overcame Chinese-Taipei's Chia-Ching Wu in a nail-biting match. Orcollo rallied down 2 – 5 to prevail over the 2005 WPA world champion 9 – 6 as he capitalized on a number of errors committed by Wu to top Group E. Wu suffered a dry break on the ninth rack, a scratch on the 14th rack and a uncharacteristic miss on the 9 ball in the 15th rack.
Orcollo's fellow Filipino, Alex Pagulayan, also made it past the group stages as he won Group C. Pagulayan, who claimed the Singapore leg, will square off against Satoshi Kawabata of Japan at 4:30 p.m. Kawabata was the winner in Group D.
The final quarterfinal encounter will pit Korea's Ryu Seung Woo against Chinese Taipei's Ching Shun Yang. Ryu ruled Group G while Yang won Group H.
The hometown representatives were not fortunate as the quartet of Mei, Dang, He Wen Li and Jian Bo Fu all failed to advance to the round of eight.
Only the top ten players in the Tour's Order of Merit list will qualify for the lucrative Grand Final in Jakarta next month and a qualifying spot in the WPA World Pool Championship.