San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour 2004 Cues up in Ho Chi Minh City

Fong-Pang Chao Makes his First Semis Appearance

March 13, 2004, Ho Chi Minh City . . . San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour cues up at the Nguyen Du Sports Hall in Ho Chi Minh City today with action from first two rounds. All the matches from the semi-finals and the final will be carried LIVE on STAR Sports at 16:30, March 14 (Singapore/Hong Kong time).

9-ball giants Philippines suffered today as Francisco Bustamante and Warren Kiamco both bowed out in second round. Only Efren Reyes will continue his journey of taking his third Tour title.

Round One
9-ball powers Philippines and Chinese Taipei started the day in excellent form with a total of seven players cruising through the first round. In the two head-to-head clashes between these two, world number one player Francisco Bustamante beat Singapore leg semi-finalist Huang-Wu Chen 9-4 but his compatriot Lee Van Corteza lost to Hui-Kai Hsia by the same score in another round one match.

Former world youth champion Hui-Chan Lu and Po-Cheng Kuo, both from Chinese Taipei, were pushed to the final rack in this race-to-17 first round by host players Phuc Long Nguyen and Thanh Nam Nguyen respectively. But Trong Khai Vu and Phuong Thao Nguyen still carry the Vietnam flag after beating their first round opponents Pang Chian Zian of Singapore and world number nine player Young-Hwa Jeong of Korea.

Alok Kumar, the giant killer in the Singapore leg, staged another come-from-behind drama to beat Fung Kwok Wai of Hong Kong 9-7 from 1-4 deficit.

Round Two
Francisco Bustamante's dream of winning his first title in the Asian Tour was again smashed after being ousted by 4-9 Thailand's Chatchawal Rutphae. Chatchawal, one of the top snooker player in Thailand, cued up his game with a 4-0 lead and never turned back to become the first Thai player in the quarter-final.

Warren Kiamco followed the step of Bustamante as he bowed out in the second round after losing 7-9 in a classic clash against Fong-Pang Chao of Chinese Taipei. Kiamco once led 7-4 but the two-time world champion scored five racks in a row to claim a berth in the quarter-final. That also put an end to Kiamco's consecutive appearance in the final.

Chao then faced his compatriot Hui-Chan Lu in the quarter-final. Lu thrashed Hisashi Yamamoto of Japan in a 9-1 game.

Vietnamese players' journey at their home leg also came to an end when Trong Khai Vu and Phuong Thao Nguyen were eliminated by Shin-Young Park (4-9) of Korea and Alok Kumar (6-9) of India respectively. Park will be on this way to make his second semi-final appearance if he beats Chatchawal Rutphae in the quarter-final.

For Kumar, he will face Chinese Taipei's Hung-Hsiang Wang in the quarter-final. Wang took Hui-Kai Hsia in an all-Chinese Taipei second round clash. Hsia once led by 8-6 but he failed to seal his victory and let Wang came back to win by 9-8.

Satoshi Kawabata made his second consecutive quarter-final appearance in the Tour. The world number 47 Japanese player edged Lin Didi of China 9-6. Then he faced Efren Reyes in the quarter-final. The Magician came back from 1-4 to beat Po-Cheng Kuo 9-6 in the fourth Philippines-Chinese Taipei clash of the day.

Bata cruised past Satoshi Kawabata 9-3 in a re-match of quarter-final in Singapore leg last month. Kawabata started the game with a 9-ball break-in but he was then penalized by his pocketing mistakes in the following few racks. Reyes thus took the lead and did not let Kawabata take revenge on his loss in Singapore.

Fong-Pang Chao then beat his compatriot Hui-Chan Lu 9-3 in the last quarter-final match of tonight. Experience and patience explained why Chao won and the former world champion could then make his first appearance in the semi-final of the Tour.

Featuring a field with 8 of the world's top-50 players, the competition this weekend also provides the opportunity for the 32 participating players to garner qualifying points towards the World Pool Championships in July. The Tour is the only ranking event in Asia for players to qualify to the World Pool Championships.

Adding to the stakes will be a prize money purse of US$50,000 up for grabs this weekend and on each subsequent stop of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour; Hong Kong (April 17-18), Taipei (May 7-9) and Manila (May 29-30). The main draw includes players from Asian 11 countries/ regions.

For all information on the Tour, please check out For the latest schedules and program information on ESPN STAR Sports, catch us on the net at

San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour, Ho Chi Minh City 2004- LIVE on STAR Sports
Mar 14 16:30 (L) 19:02 (R) Mar 15 Semi-finals
Mar 14 20:00 (L) 22:00 (R) Mar 15 Final
Hong Kong/ Singapore Time. Schedule subject to change.

Sanctioned by the Asian Pocket Billiard Union, the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour is organized by ESPN STAR Sports' Event Management Group (EMG). San Miguel Beer is the title sponsor for the Tour. Iwan Simonis and Aramith supply the official tablecloth and official balls respectively. STAR Sports is the official broadcaster. The 2004 Tour has events in Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Taipei and Manila. Besides total prize money of US$250,000, top 10 on the Tour Order of Merit every year will directly qualify into the World Pool Championships.