Pinoy junior standout David, Indonesian Zulfikri advance to Philippine Open Main Draw

Former junior standout Renemar David is ready to play against the big boys in the Philippine Open Pool Championship.

On Saturday night at the Star Billiards Center in Quezon City, David made this affirmation when he wielded the upset ax on his more experienced rival Pei Wei Chang of Chinese Taipei, 9-5, on the way to winning Qualifier 5.

David was joined by Mohamad Zulfikri, who beat Yoni Machnato in an all-Indonesian finals in Qualifier 6, 9-5, later in the night.

Zulfikri took advantage of a crucial error by Machnato in the 12th rack.

Trailing 6-5,  Machnato had a golden opportunity to equalize but he scratched while trying to sink the 10-ball. From there, everything went Zulfikri's way as he became the first Indonesian player to make it to the main draw via the qualifying stage.

David is the third Filipino player to make it to the main draw via the qualifying stage. On Friday, Jundel Mazon and Roberto Gomez clinched a berth in the main draw of this event where current and former world champions are already seeded and set to see action from April 7 to 11 at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

The 21-year-old pride of Candon, Ilocos Norte, started strong early by racing to a 3-0 lead. He had a chance to make it four in a row, but his attempt on the 10-ball in the fourth rack went off of the table.

It was the break Chang needed in making it to the scoring column. The Taiwanese cue artist who placed runner-up to eventual champion Alex Pagulayan in the 2004 World Pool Championship made a fitting follow-up to stay within striking distance at 2-3.

David was determined to pull away and wanted to make it a one-sided affair just like the early two Pinoy bets who just entered the Stage 2 event.

The player regarded as one of only few young players to deal legendary pool player  Efren “Bata" Reyes a sound beating, won the next five racks to move comfortably ahead, 7-3.

David had a dry break in the 11th rack which lead to a safety exchange between the players. A miscalculated safety shot by the Filipino exposed the 4-ball for Pei, who cleaned up the table.

Pei had a dry break in the next rack, but got another chance when David missed the 6-ball in the corner, allowing his opponent to get back to the table. The Taiwanese bet wasted no time and closed in at 5-7.

Chang bungled two crucial easy shots that could have pushed him back into the game. A missed 3-ball in the corner allowed David to get his turn and clean up the table for an 8-5 lead.

David sank the 1-ball off a break in the 14th rack and looked to be on his way to close out the match. He miscalculated the cue ball while preparing for the 6-ball and was forced to play a jump shot. Luckily, the 6-ball ended up partially concealed by the 9-ball and Chang was forced to take a bank shot for a 6 and 10 combo. The shot was unsuccessful and the Filipino dispatched the remaining balls and formalized his entry to the Stage 2 event.   

"I'm just fortunate to dictate the match early. I was able to race to a 3-0 lead. Had the match played in a tightly-fought one, I might have a difficult time winning," said David. "It also helped me a lot that he (Chang) missed several easy shots."

Winning the Qualifier didn't come easy for the Filipino. He needed to hurdle five foreign rivals -- Indonesian Sahroni, crack Chinese player Wang Ming, Lim Leng of Vietnam, Johari of Indonesia and Pei before securing a berth in the main draw.