Philippines, USA Power on to the World Cup Semis

Team USA

PRE-TOURNAMENT favourites the Philippines underlined their status as they overwhelmed the Japanese duo of Satoshi Kawabata and Naoyuki Oi to secure a semi final match against the USA on Sunday afternoon.

Francisco Bustamante, a winner of this event along with Efren Reyes in 2006, was partnered by WPA No.1 ranked player Dennis Orcollo and both players showed sufficient firepower to reach the last four with ease.

The teams shared the opening two racks but Philippines edged ahead in the third. Orcollo came up with a dry break in the fourth but that did not matter as Oi missed the 2-ball as the Philippines moved 3-1 ahead.

Philippines were given ball-in-hand in the fifth but could not capitalise as Japan kept the match tight at 3-2. However, that was as good as it got for the Japanese as Philippines took control from then on.

Orcollo broke from the right side of the table in the seventh but it turned out to be his third dry break of the match. A nice pot on the 1 ball set things up for Japan. Kawabata though over ran the cue ball going from 8 to 9 and Oi missed the tough cut on the 9. The Philippines downed the 9 to go 5-2 ahead.

A thunderous Bustamante break left a good looking table but Orcollo missed the 1 ball. Japan were hooked though and fouled trying to make contact. With ball in hand, the Philippines stormed into a 6-2 lead.

They took the next from the break and then Orcollo played a delicate nudge on the 1 ball into the centre pocket to give his team a great chance to reach the hill. Looking in control, Bustamante and Orcollo ran out to reach the hill at 8-2.

A dry break from Orcollo saw Japan have a last gasp attempt to salvage the match. A safety saw Bustamante mess up on the 1 ball and offer Kawabata a chancy 1/9 combo.

He missed and left a 2/9 in the bottom left corner. Orcollo knocked in the long 1 ball and his partner completed the combination to put Team Philippines into the semi-finals where they will meet Team USA.

AMERICA reached the semi-finals of the 2008 World Cup of Pool for the second time in three years.

The pairing of Rodney Morris and Shane Van Boening defeated Austria 9-7 in a hard-fought encounter and will now meet either the Philippines in the semi-finals on Sunday.

Morris who was in the American side that lost in the 2006 final to the Philippines, and hopes to go one better this time.

"Against Austria was our toughest match because we didn't break the balls well," said Morris. "Shane didn't make a ball once and they broke really well.

"There was no reason to expect them to scratch at the end so we got very lucky. The match was what we expected but the way we played made it tough.

"We want to be the first US team to win this and I don't know how many times I'm going to get invited back so I definitely want to win it this time.

"Anytime you get towards the end of the tournament you have history with the players because it's usually someone that you've played a lot and there is an aspect of revenge."

The USA took the opener but failed on their break shot but Jasmin Ouschan missed a long 1 ball and the USA chose to play safe. The rack went a bit scrappy but it was Austria who completed the clearance to level the score at 1-1.

Austria took the next but scratched in the fourth rack to give ball in hand to the Americans. They cleared until Morris missed on the 6 ball but van Boening retrieved the situation with a great snooker. Ouschan made good contact but left it on and the Americans levelled it at 2-2.

Two balls dropped on the break but with no shot on the 2 ball, Van Boening laid another snooker. It gave the onus to the USA and they ran out to go into a 3-2 lead.

An illegal break got Austria back to the table and they completed a nice run out to level the score.

A decent break shot from Kempter spread the table and the Austrian pair cleared to take the lead at 4-3, but the break in the next was dry. The Austrians got back to the table but a weak safety from Kempter on the brown 7 gifted a chance to the USA and they took it to restore parity.

Morris, who had switched sides on his break shot earlier in the game, stuck with it but endured another dry break. Both sides had visits but with the remaining six balls clustered in a corner of the table, Kempter failed to get out of a snooker and with ball in hand, the USA restored their lead at 5-4.

Yet another dry break, this one from Van Boening, gave Austria a chance but a heavy handed snooker attempt by Ouschan let the Americans back in but Van Boening played a poor safe on the green 6 to give Austria a chance and they squared the match at 5-5.

A great break from Kempter left a nice layout and they made no mistakes to record a rare run out and go into a 6-5 lead.

There were two balls off the break for Ouschan but the table did not lay easy. Eventually the American pair had the chance to tie up the Austrians with snookers. Ouschan escaped from the first but Kempter failed at the second and Team USA cleared with ball in hand to move it to 6-6.

A run out from the break gave the USA a 7-6 lead but Austria took the next to take the match to 7-7. No balls on the break meant that the USA got to the table and they ran out to get to the hill.

Just when they needed a decent break they got it, and Van Boening and Morris ran out for a 9-7 win.