Philippines Routs Taiwan In Dual Meet

The Philippines once again demonstrated its superiority over its biggest contender in world pool when a Solar Sports Team minus the recognized superstars of the game headed by Efren "Bata" Reyes, Francisco "Django" Bustamante and Alex "The Lion Pagulayan" routed a top-class Taiwanese team in the three-day dual meet which confirmed the country's pride and glory in the fiercely competitive world of pool at the Octagon Hall of Robinson's Galeria.

Anchored by promising youngster Marlon Manalo who was Asian snooker champion in 2000 but has recently made a name for himself in pool with a quarter final finish in the recent World Pool Championship in Taipei where he emerged as a "giant killer" routing his idols Reyes and Bustamante as well as Taiwan's sensational Ching-Shun Yang and Dennis Orcullo, the superb shot-maker from Surigao, the Filipinos won all four doubles matches on the final day to stamp their class over the best Taiwanese players led by 2000 World Pool Champion and "Cool Killer" Fong Pang Chao, 2004 World Pool runner-up Pei-Wei Chang, two-time Asian Games gold medallist and San Miguel Asian 9-ball Tour star Yang, World Pool semi finalist Po Cheng Kuo and talented Che-Wei Fu.

Manalo and Orcullo, complementing each other superbly against a Taiwanese duo that apparently failed to adapt to the table and the environment, smashed Chao and Chang 9-3 and put the finishing touches to an impressive showing by whipping the tandem of Kuo and Fu 9-3 in the last match of the series. In between, Antonio Gabica and veteran Antonio "Nikoy" Lining blasted Yang and Fu 9-1 before Lining gave way to Gandy Valle who teamed up with Gabica to beat Chao and Chang 9-6 in the closest match in the doubles.

The Philippine Team, carrying the colors of Solar Sports which also telecast the matches "live" pocketed a cool $40,000 or just over P2.2 million for the effort while the Taiwanese who were forced to stay an extra day because of the typhoon that roared through Taiwan after leaving a trail of death and disaster in the Philippines, earned $20,000.

The Taiwanese are expected to make some changes in their line-up for the second leg which will be held in late October in Taipei with only Fong Pang Chao assured of a place because of his two victories in singles against Manalo and Lining. The Philippine Team won't see any changes since the players used reportedly have a contract with Solar Sports and played exceptionally well. Whether they can duplicate the feat before sometimes hostile Taiwanese fans remains to be seen.