Seven Quarter-finals Berths Decided in the Manila Leg of San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour 2004

Francisco Bustamante
Seven Quarter-finals Berths Decided in the Manila Leg of San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour 2004

May 28, 2004, Manila: Current world no. 1 Francisco Bustamante joined six other players to book a berth in the quarter-final in the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour, Manila. STAR Sports will broadcast all the action LIVE from the Octagon Hall at 14:00, May 29-30 (Manila/ Hong Kong/ Singapore time).

Django had two brilliant games in front of the home crowd. In the first round he beat Vu Trong Khai of Vietnam 9-4 and then sent Jung Lin Chang of Chinese Taipei home by winning 9-7 in the second round. But it will be an all-Philippine players' clash in the quarter-final as he will meet Warren Kiamco. Kiamco had no problem in beating Manan Chandra of India 9-3 in the second round, after his 9-4 victory over Fu Jian Bo of China in the first round.

Host players occupied at least three berths in the quarter-final. Lee Van Corteza also joined Django and Kiamco after edging Satoshi Kawabata of Japan 9-8 in the second round.

Three-leg winner of the 2004 Tour Efren ‘Bata' Reyes survived in a 9-8 thriller against Siaw Wieto of Indonesia in the first round. But he will surely face a bitter challenge from Fong Pang Chao of Chinese Taipei in this clash of former world champions. Chao beat Bernard Tey of Singapore 9-5 in the first round. The winner of this re-match of the Ho Chi Minh City leg final will meet Corteza in the quarter-final.

Antonio Gabica was the only Philippine player bowing out in the first round after losing 8-9 to Taipei leg runner-up Young Hwa Jeong of Korea. Jeong then continued his winning streak by defeating Shih Fan Chao of Chinese Taipei 9-6.

Lu Kung Hung was Chinese Taipei's third casualty in the second round. He lost 7-9 to Vietnam's Nguyen Thanh Nam. Before eliminating Hung, Nguyen came back from 0-4 deficit to beat Au Chi Wai of Hong Kong 9-8 in the first round. Nguyen will face Jeong in his first quarter-final appearance in the Tour.

So Chinese Taipei's title hope in Manila will fall with the 15-year-old Wu Chia Ching. Wu beat two-time world youth champion Hui Kai Hsia 9-4 in the first round and made the latter the only eliminated seeded player in that round. Then he became unstoppable by beating host player Gandy Valle 9-6 in the second round. He will meet world no.32 Shin Young Park in the quarter-final. Park continued his consistent run in the Tour by edging Tan Tiong Boon of Singapore 9-6 in the second round.

Host players occupied three quarter-final berths, followed by Korea's two, while Chinese Taipei and Vietnam took one each. This competition has been extremely tight as there have been five out of 23 games settled by the last 17th rack.

The Manila leg is the last chance for the 32 participating players to garner qualifying points towards the World Pool Championships in July. After the Manila leg, the top 10 on the Tour Order of Merit will directly qualify into the World Pool Championships. The Tour is the only ranking tour in Asia for players to qualify to the Championships.

Adding to the stakes is the total prize money purse of US$250,000 up for grabs on this regional tour which started in Singapore (February 28-29) and features subsequent stops in Ho Chi Minh City (March 13-14), Hong Kong (April 17-18), Taipei (May 7-9) and Manila (May 28-30). The main draw includes 32 top Asian players from 12 countries/ regions.

Photo courtesy of ESPNSTAR