Philippine Juggernaut Rolls On At All-Japan 9-Ball Championship

The Philippine juggernaut rolled on at the All Japan 9-Ball Championship with Efren “Bata” Reyes, 2004 World Pool champion Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan and recent Tokyo 9-Ball champion Ramil “Bebeng” Gallego showing the way at the Archaic Hall in Amagasaki Hyougo, yesterday. Reyes eased past Indonesia's I. Ibrahim 9-6 while Pagulayan who continues to be listed as representing Canada whipped another Indonesian Edy Hartono 9-3.

Gallego continued his fine form whipping Yukio Akakariyama 9-4 while the surprising Gandy Valle, the 1998 Asian Games doubles gold medallist kept his impressive winning streak going with a 9-7 victory over favored Takeshi Okumura 9-7. Veteran Rodolfo “Boy Samson” Luat once again showed his class by outclassing Daizou Narumi 9-3 while another veteran Antonio “Nikoy” Lining defeated Ryouji Aoki 9-6.

Warren Kiamco, runner-up in three legs of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour, Francisco "Django" Bustamante and rising star Marlon Manalo who all lost their opening matches continued to stay alive in the double-elimination round with a series of wins. Kiamco played near flawless pool in a 9-2 rout of Takashi Uraoka while Manalo scored back-to-back victories over Yuuiti Yano 9-4 and Ryouji Aoki 9-6. Bustamante recovered from an opening game heartbreaker when he lost 8-9 to Chinese-Taipei ace Sheng-Hung Shih 8-9 but quickly recovered with smashing 9-2 victories over Nobuyuki Tsunutami and Mitsuo Osada.

The powerful Chinese-Taipei contingent also did well with former World Pool Champion Fong Panf Chao leading the way. Other big names moving towards the round of 32 are 2004 World Pool runner-up Pei-Wei Chang and 15 year old sensation Wu Chia-Ching who won a 9-8 thriller over Japan's Kohji Takanayagi. Also on the winners side making a run for the title are South Korea's Young Hwa Jeong and Germany's Ralf Souquet.