Philippine and Chinese Taipei Pool Players Rack ‘Em Up!

Warren Kiamco

9-Ball pool players from the Philippines and Chinese Taipei show their mettle and prove their standing as some of the world's best as most stay in competition after day one of the first leg of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour taking place in Singapore's Pool Haven this weekend.

By the end of the first two rounds of competition, four players from the Philippines, three from Chinese Taipei and one player from Japan made it to the quarter finals. From the Philippines, world 3rd ranked 9-ball player Francisco "Django" Bustamante, world's 8th ranked 9-ball player Warren Kiamco, world's 15th ranked 9-ball player Antonio Lining and 2001 SEA Games 8-Ball Champion Lee Vann Corteza all qualified to compete in the quarter finals. The team from Chinese Taipei also performed well with world's 7th top 9-Ball player and Busan Asian Games 9-Ball Champion Yang Ching-Shun, 2001 winner of the Tianshang Cup International Kuo Po-Cheng and Busan Asian Games 8-Ball Champion Hsia Hui-Kai making the grade. Japan's no. 1 ranked professional pool player Akikumo Toshikawa completes the eight contenders at the quarter finals.

The upset of the day was the loss of world's 4th ranked player Filipino ace Efren "Bata" Reyes at Round One of competition against Chinese Taipei's Hsia Hui Kai, his nemesis from last year's Asian Games in Busan who beat him 9-5. It was the second time the two competed against each other, and the second time the reigning Asian Games 8-Ball Champion Hsia won against his pool idol.

Hsia Hui Kai said: "I didn't expect to win the seventh frame when Reyes missed the 9-ball. If he won that frame, it would've been difficult for me to come back. With this game, you are never sure till the last shot and because it is against Reyes, winning this match is more exciting for me than winning a championship!"

Efren Reyes said: "Luck was not on my side today. I played with a new cue tip and had not had time to practice shots with it, but regardless of that, Hsia played well today which is why he won."

The San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour, Singapore culminates tomorrow, 15 March, Sunday with the quarter finals, semi-finals and finals.

Catch 9-Ball at 9pm on STAR Sports - All the action of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour in Singapore will air on STAR Sports at 9pm on April 1-3 and April 8-10 (Singapore/Hong Kong time). For the latest schedules and program information on ESPN STAR Sports on the net at

The San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour is organized by ESPN STAR Sports' Event Management Group (EMG). EMG specializes in creating, managing, promoting, consulting, producing and syndicating world-class sporting events throughout Asia. The Group has been awarded numerous awards, among them; Best Promoted Event in 1998 and 1999 awarded by the ATP; Best Sporting Event in Hong Kong in 1998 and 1999 awarded by the Hong Kong Sports Development Board; and Best Event Organizer in 2000 awarded by the Singapore Tourism Board. The Group has managed over 100 events in 11 countries, including the Aviva Asian Bowling Tour and Grand Slam Finals and the six-city Asian Xtour and Asia's most prestigious action sports competition, the Asian X Games. The Group also owns and manages the world's richest futsal competition, the KL World 5s; and in the Summer of 2003 will organize the only official English Premier League pre-season tournament, the F.A. Premier League Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. All events organized by EMG enjoy unrivalled regional broadcast across Asia through the ESPN and STAR Sports channels.