Archive Page

Draw Made For US Open 9-Ball Championship

The draw for the 43rd US Open 9-Ball Championship has been made, with Jayson Shaw to begin his defense against Marcus Weston at Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas on Sunday, April 21.
The draw was seeded with a golf-style category system adopted, which took in rankings from across the pool world including WPA World Ranking, BCA Standings and Fargo Rating. As defending champion Shaw was seeded No.1, while five-time US Open champion Shane Van Boening is seeded second as the highest ranked American player.
Broadcast details for the 2019 US Open 9-Ball Championship will be announced shortly. Live rack-by-rack scoring will be available throughout the event at thanks to Matchroom Multi Sport’s partnership with CueScore.
The draw, brackets and match schedule can be viewed now at
Note: Should any players featured in the draw not participate in the event, they will be replaced directly by the first player on the event waiting list to accept a spot in the tournament, irrespective of where the new player would have featured in any seeding category.
All matches at the US Open 9-Ball Championship takes place April 21-26 at Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas. Matches are race to 11, winner breaks, except the final which is race to 13. The draw and match schedule for the first stage of the tournament is available now at
Tickets for the 43rd US Open 9-Ball Championship are still available at from as little as $10 with VIP packages also available for the final three days of the tournament.
The tournament will be split into two stages with the full field playing double elimination down to the final 16 from Sunday April 21st until Tuesday April 23rd across multiple tables. From Wednesday April 24th until Friday April 26th the final 16 players will play straight knockout in the TV Arena in front of a global television audience.
Jayson Shaw vs. Marcus Westen
Tom Staveley vs.Jason Williams
Hunter Lombardo vs. Kosuke Tojo
Radwan Jameel R Sorouji vs. Tommy Tokoph
Naoyuki Oi vs. Marco Vignola
Alex Montpellier vs. Jason Klatt
Martin Daigle vs. Patrick Flemming
Angelo Salzano vs. Corey Deuel
Petri Makkonen vs. Marcel Price
Peter Busarac vs. Amar Kang
Franklin Hernandez vs. Ellis Brown
Paul Jaurez vs. Justin Bergman
James Aranas vs. Roderick Malone
Masato Yoshioka vs. Erik Hjorleifson
Stephen Folan vs. Jochen Kluge
Jon Demet vs. Toru Kurabayashi
Fedor Gorst vs. Gary Onomura
Stanley Walton vs. Paul Duell
Omar Al-Shaheen vs. David Dimmitt
Amer Al-Darbani vs. Mateusz Sniegoki
Dali Lin vs. Fabio Rizzi
Jason Hitzfeld vs. Jeremy Jones
Philipp Stojanovic vs. Steve Van Ness
Dalibor Nikolin vs. Francisco Sanchez Ruiz
(Kevin) Cheng Yu Hsuan vs. Christopher Lawson
Mohammed Ali N Al Eid vs. Ivo Aarts
Rodney Morris vs. Ken Kuwana
Deomark Alpajora vs. Radoslaw Babica
Marc Bijsterbosch vs. Ritchie Ogawa
Gary Urinoski vs. Danny Olson
Toan Nguyen vs. Bahram Lofty
Giuseppe Iacobucci vs. Ko Pin-Yi
Carlo Biado vs. Fahad Salem N Alharbi
Kenichi Uchigaki vs. Tyler Fleshman
Matt Edwards vs. Marco Penta
Hideaki Arita vs. Maksim Dudanets
Jeff De Luna vs. Torsten Schmitt
Chris Robinson vs. Rob Hart
Marco Teutscher vs. Raymund Faraon
Yip Kin Ling Leo vs. Dennis Orcollo
David Alcaide vs. Jorg Kellner
Blake Baker vs. Mitch Ellerman
Siming Chen vs. Mohamed Baabad
Jamal Oussi vs. Hoang Duong Quoc
Liu Haitao vs. Patrick Griess
Mike Stalk vs. John Schmidt
Justin Espinosa vs. Nguyen Phuc Long
Koh Yong Lee Randolph vs. Eklent Kaci
Ko Ping-Chung vs. Sami Koylu
Cole Gibbons vs. Brian Sanders
Brandon Shuff vs. Michael Yednak
Robert Hewings vs. Michael Dechaine
Konrad Juszczyszyn vs. John Chapman
Luis Guerrero vs. Hayato Hijikata
Kenny Loftis vs. Corey Harper
Michael Hutcheson vs. Thorsten Hohmann
Johnny Archer vs. Kurt Kobayashi
Konrad Piekarski vs. Roberto Gomez
Jani Siekkinen vs. Damian Pongpanik
Bora Anar vs. Alex Pagulayan
Sangin Pehlivanovic vs. Bryan Farah
Ching-Shun Yang vs. Milos Verkic
Kings Santy vs. Michael Delawder
Jason McClain vs. Alexander Kazakis
Joshua Filler vs. Matt Krah
Thomas Welle vs. David Anderson
Jalal Yousef vs. Henrik Larsson
Tom Griffith vs. Roman Hybler
Jeffery Ignacio vs. Lefteris Georgiou
James Davee vs. Kostas Koukiadakis
Hsu Kai-Lun vs. Adam King
Ralph Eckert vs. Mika Immonen
Wu Kun Lin vs. Kuo Szu-Ting
Kang Lee vs. Ernesto Dominguez
Darren Appleton vs. Terry Spalding
Patrick Holtz vs. Richard Halliday
Tyler Styer vs. Kelii Chuberko
Che-Wei Fu vs. Josh Roberts
John Barton vs. Zachary Bos
Johann Dominik Hiber vs. Wu Jiaqing
Dennis Grabe vs. Lee Heuwagen
Jeffrey Jimenez vs. Ronald Regli
Liu Ri Teng vs. Gwyn Spooner
Arnar Peterson vs. Chang Yu-Lung
Wang Can vs. Dejan Sipkovski
Jonathan Mcdowell Pakieto vs. Francisco Bustamante
Max Eberle vs. Robert Goddard
Florida Pro Tour vs. Aloysius Yapp
Skyler Woodward vs. Luu Minh Phuc
Stephen Holem vs. Imran Majid
Jason Theron vs. Katsuyuki Yamamoto
Stan Tourangeau vs. Ruslan Chinakov
Wojciech Szewczyk vs. Renato Camantigue
James Adams vs. Marek Kudlik
Brendan Ng vs. Paddy McLoughlin
Brian Parks vs. Niels Feijen
Chang Jung-Lin vs. Roland Stock
John Moody Sr vs. Adam Lilley
Nick Malaj vs. Dimitri Jungo
Francesco Candela vs. Tomasz Kaplan
Mario He vs. Michael Pruitt
Cheng-Chieh Liu vs. Tommy Kennedy
Vilmos Foldes vs. Marc Vidal Claramunt
Max K Reyes vs. Billy Thorpe
Dang Jin Hu vs. Ben Crawley
Jamie White vs. Tony Chohan
Gabe Owen vs. Gary Lutman
Elliot Sanderson vs. Robbie Capito
Warren Kiamco vs. Mark Showalter
Brendon Bektashi vs. Hsu Jui-An
Patrick Mannillo vs. Melinda Huang
Ryo Yokawa vs. Chris Melling
Ralf Souquet vs. Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan
Seiji Kuwajima vs. Simon Pickering
Earl Strickland vs. Pedro Botta
Steve Lingelbach vs. Dennis Hatch
Donny Mills vs. Eugene Villena
Mark Foster vs. Shaun Wilkie
Kim Laaksonen vs. Chris Alexander
Steven Lingafelter vs. Albin Ouschan
John Morra vs. Marco Spitzky
Adam Mscisz vs. Marlon Manalo
Alejandro Carvajal vs. Dustin Dixon
Philipps Yee vs. Johann Chua
Mieszko Fortunksi vs. Chris McDaniel
Robby Foldvari vs. Yukio Akagariyama
Manny Perez vs. Nicolas Charette
Abdullah Saeed O Alshammari vs. Shane van Boening

Judgement Day Casts Out The Weak As Fantastic Final 64 Gets Set To Do Battle

John Morra

Judgement Day at the 2018 World 9-ball Championship in Doha came and went in a flash, with just two sessions on the losers side of each of the 16 groups. And while there were the usual jangling nerves rattling throughout the cavernous Al Arabi Sports Club, one thing that was definitely missing from this year’s final day of the group stages was the complete lack of upsets.
This means that the 64 players left in the competition, who begin a single elimination, race to 11 format on Monday at 10am Doha time(GMT +3), comprise the absolute best of the very best in professional pool. Over the next several days these greats of the game will duel it out for the most prestigious prize in the sport and a $40,000 top prize. If you are a fan of 9-ball pool, buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life.
A look at the players still standing tells us a lot about the state of pool, and where the world’s best practitioners come from. The Taiwanese lead the way with nearly 15% of the players left, 9 to be exact. Next up might be a surprise to some fans but not to those who follow the sport intimately: six players from Poland qualified, proof that the sport of pool in Poland is perhaps the most vibrant in the world at the moment.
The Philippines, Japan and China come in next with five players each. The Philippines is an interesting story because many Pinoy players stayed away from this year’s championship to play in boxer Manny Pacquiao’s event in his home town in the southern Philippines. If you are hard core fan that is no doubt a disappointing development. But the 5 Pinoy’s left, including defending champion Carlo Biado, all have a shot at going far.
The Japanese have put in their best showing in years, while the Chinese players have also looked strong. A Chinese player has never won a World 9-ball Championship.(Wu Jiaqing played for Chinese-Taipei when he won in 2005).
One of the most watched matches of the day came between the Philippines Roland Garcia, a runner up here last year, and American Billy Thorpe. The two stayed close throughout the first half of the match, splitting the first 8 racks. But Garcia pounced on several mistakes by Thorpe and then piled on the racks, winning 9-5.Garcia breathed a massive sigh of relief afterward because he had lost his very first match in Doha and had to win two straight to qualify.
In a battle of two former world champions, Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann took on China’s Wu Jiaqing. Wu jumped out to a big early lead, 6-2, before the German mounted a brief fight back. But Hohmann admittedly let the match slip away with too many unforced errors, as Wu advanced 9-6.
It was a proud day for the Kuwaitis who once again showed their prowess as a pool playing nation. Bader Alawadhi pulled off what could be the day’s biggest surprise when he shocked Spain’s David Alcaide, 9-7. Omar Alshaheen also booked his spot in the knockout rounds with a handy 9-6 win over Bosnia’s Sanjin Pehlivanovic.
It was also a good day for Finland. Petri Makkonen advanced with his second straight win, after taking down the always strong Chang Yu Leung, 9-6. Casper Matikainen put a halt to Filipino Marlon Manalo’s comeback with an easy 9-2 victory.
Austria’s former world champion Albin Ouschan struggled early but qualified with a 9 – 5 win over Myanmar’s Aung Moe Thu. Fellow Austrian Maximilian Lechner put an end to the hopes of South African Jason Theron, winning 9-5 after an early struggle.
Lebanon doesn’t often feature in the business end of things here, but Mazen Berjaoui held his nerve with a break and runout in the final frame to eliminate the USA’s Hunter Lombardo, 9-8.
Canada’s John Morra looked very strong in his 9-3 win over American Tommy Tokoph. Venezuela’s Jalal Al Sarisi(formerly Yousef), who went all the way to the quarterfinals last year, also qualified after handily beating the Netherland’s Ivar Saris, 9-6.
Monday’s action will be comprised of three sessions, with both the rounds of 64 and 32 being completed. The tournament will have a day off on December 18th due to it being the National Day of Qatar. The round of 16 and the quarterfinals will be held on December 19th, while the semis and final will take place on December 20th.
Play on Monday begins at 10am Doha time(GMT +3)
Fans around the world can watch four tables on our free live stream which can be accessed via the live scoring page here;
 Click the tables where you see the word "Video" and you will be taken to Youtube to watch the match. Tables 1, 7,8,9. Please visit the WPA Facebook Page for more information.
The winner of the 2018 World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000. The runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
To view the Final 64 bracket, please CLICK HERE.
*The 2018 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from December 10-20, 2018. The event is hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by The World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.
The WPA is on Twitter; @poolwpa
Visit the official website of the WPA at
The players will compete on Wiraka DYNASTY  Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament  Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.
Media coverage of the 2018 World 9-ball Championship is being supported by the American Poolplayers Association(APA).  Join the world’s largest pool league today. Please visit
Day 3 Results.
Losers Side Matches. Losers are out. Winners qualify for the final 64 knockout stage.
Group 1
Vitaliy Patsura(UKR)   9 – 6 Abdulatif Alfawal(QAT)
Woo Seung Ryu(KOR) 9 – 3 Meshaal AL Murdhi(KUW)  
Group 2
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 9 – 7 Matt Edwards(NZL)  
Mazen Berjaoui(LEB) 9 – 8 Hunter Lombardo(USA)     
Group 3
Roland Garcia(PHL) 9 – 5 Billy Thorpe(USA)
Bader Alawadhi(KUW) 9 – 7 David Alcaide(ESP)
Group 4
Omar Alshaheen(KUW) 9 – 6 Sanjin Pehlivanovic(BOS)
Johann Chua Gonzales(PHL) 9 – 3 Jeong Young Hwa(KOR)
Group 5
Petri Makkonen(FIN) 9 – 6 Chang Yu Lung(TPE)
Francisco Diaz-Pizarro(ESP)   9 – 5 Ahmed Tanvir(BAN)
Group 6
Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL) 9 – 6 Satoshi Kawabata(JPN)
Ruslan Chinahov(RUS) 9 – 2 Abdullah Alenzi(KUW)
Group 7
Ko Ping Han(TPE) 9 – 7 Xu Xiacong(CHN)
Yu Hsuan Cheng(TPE) 9 – 5 Hayato Hijikata(JPN)
Group 8
Sharik Aslam Sayed(SIN) 9 – 4 Roman Hybler(CZE)
Toru Kuribayashi(JPN) 9 – 6 Hasan Idan(IRQ)
Group 9
Nguyen Anh Tuan(VET) 9 – 5 Hoang Duong Quoc(VET)
Wiktor Zielinski(POL) 9 – 7 Sergey Lutsker(POL)
Group 10
Casper Matikainen(FIN) 9 – 2 Marlon Manalo(PHL)
Liu Haitao(CHN) 9 – 6 Martin Daigle(CAN)
Group 11
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 9 – 6 Thorsten Hohmann(GER)
Maximilian Lechner(AUT) 9 – 5 Jason Theron(RSA)
Group 12
Yukio Akagariyama(JPN) 9 – 3 Ali Maghsoud(IRA)
Wojciech Sroczynski(POL) 9 -3 Richard Halliday(RSA)
Group 13
Jalal Al Sarisi(VEN) 9 – 6 Ivar Saris(NED)
Nikolaos Malaj(GRE) 9 – 8 Marek Kudlik(POL)
Group 14
Dang Jinhu(CHN) 9 – 6 Denis Grabe(EST)
Lin Ta Li(TPE) 9 – 6 Lo Ho Sum(HKG)
Group 15
Albin Ouschan(AUT) 9 – 5 Aung Moe Thu(MYR)
John Morra(CAN) 9 – 3 Tommy Tokoph(USA)
Group 16
Bing Chen Gao(CHN) 9 – 7 Damianos Giallourakis(GRE)
Wen Lo Li(TPE) 9 – 5 Kwon Hojun(KOR)

Pool’s Best Push Through To The Final 64

Jung Lin Chang

A veritable armada of pool’s biggest stars pushed their way through to the Final 64 knockout stage at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha today, as the business end of proceedings quickly started to take shape at the 2018 World 9-ball Championship.
It was a very busy day which saw 32 players qualify for the money rounds, and another 32 players see their dreams of glory come to a screeching halt.
Of course it was quite expected when the tournament began on Friday that over half the original field of 128 players from over 40 countries had no chance at actually winning the event. But the outcomes today were somewhat surprising in that we saw few of the upsets fans have come to expect in the group stages over the years. The only big name to fall by the wayside and get a pink slip was 2001 World 9-ball Champion and Hall of Famer Mika Immonen, who lost his second straight match in as many days.
Otherwise the day’s action saw one superstar and rising star after the next take their place in the final 64. When the field is filled at the end of the day’s play on Sunday, fans around the world can expect one of the finest runs to the gold in many years.
World number one Klenti Kaci hasn’t looked his sharpest so far. But the 19 year old Albanian did what he had to do in a steady 9-6 win over Kuwaiti Meshaal Al Murdhi.
Defending champion Carlo Biado of the Philippines seemed to be on cruise control in his 9-5 win over Russia’s Sergey Lutsker. Despite being the reigning 9-ball king, the Filipino great benefits from being so humble and so low key that he plays almost unnoticed.
The biggest winners Saturday in terms of countries was Taiwan, which saw a whopping seven of its players qualify for the round of 64.  2015 World 9-ball champion Ko Pin Yi looked the goods today as he handily beat Czech Republic’s Roman Hybler, 9-4. 2017 semi-finalist Lin Wu Kun grinded out a solid 9 – 7 victory over former champion Yukio Akagariyama of Japan. Ko’s younger brother Ko Ping Chung took a 9 – 6 win over Greece’s Nikolas Malai.  Hsieh Chia Chen beat Russian strongman Ruslan Chinhov 9-8 to make it through.vLui Ri Ten beat American Billy Thorpe 9-7 to make it through.
Taiwan’s biggest monster right now—and that is saying something– is surely Chang Jung Lin who is currently ranked number 2 in the world. Chang did win his second straight match to qualify today, but he once again had to go to the limit to get there. Chang blew an 8-5 lead to Greece’s Damianos Giallourakis and had to eke out victory with a nervy clear in the very last rack for a second straight 9-8 win.
The USA’s Shane Van Boening, who is one of the heavy favorites this week in Doha, didn’t have as easy a time today as he did on day one. But he was never in real trouble against Venezuelan veteran Jalal Al Sarisi, winning 9-7. SVB’s Mosconi Cup teammate Corey Duel played steady 9-ball and easily defeated Finland’s Petri Makkonen 9-4 to make the knockout stage.
World number six and 2014 champion Niels Feijen had another solid day, defeating Spain’s Francisco Diaz-Pizarro, 9-7. The Dutchman’s Mosconi teammate Albin Ouschan didn’t fare as well as he took a thumping from Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn, 9-4.  Juszczyszyn may not be a household name to pool fans but it should be noted that he is the current European 9-ball champion. Another Pole who scored a very big victory was Mateusz Sniegocki who took down a very tough Filipino, Jeffrey Ignacio, 9-5. Tomasz Kaplan made it three for Poland today with a win over South Africa’s Jason Theron.
It was good day for the Germans as both Ralf Souquet and Joshua Filler won their second straight matches to qualify for the final 64.  18 year old Russian Fedor Gorst continued to impress as he qualified with a handy 9-1 win over Jeong Young Hwa of Korea.
It was a very big day for the Japanese side as three players made it through with impressive wins. Takano Tomoo took down former world champion Wu Jiaqing 9-8. Naoyuki Oi was a 9 – 4 winner over Finland’s Casper Matikainen. And Tomoya Iima took a 9 – 7 win over Hoang Guong Quoc of Vietnam.
Other winners who qualified for the knockout rounds included the Philippines Jeffrey De Luna, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp, Canada’s Alex Pagulayan, Myanmar’s talented Phone Myint Kyaw, Spain’s Fracisco Sanchez Ruiz, Greece’s Alex Kazakis, China’s Wang Can and Russia’s Konstantin Stepanov.
Chris Melling, the lone Brit in the field, again looked the goods as he easily beat South Africa’s Richard Halliday, 9-3. Qatar’s Waleed Majid also won his second straight to make it through, beating China’s Xu Xiacong, 9-6.
Play continues on Sunday in Doha at the Al Arabi with the action beginning at 12pm local time(GMT +3.) All matches on Sunday will be do or die, losers side matches with the winners advancing to the knockout round and the losers going out of the event.
The winner of the 2018 World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000. The runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
*The 2018 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from December 10-20, 2018. The event is hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by The World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.
Fans around the world will be able to view many of the matches via the QBSF’s free live streaming platform. Multiple tables will be available to view online at no charge to the public. Please visit the WPA Facebook Page for more information.
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa
Visit the official website of the WPA at
The players will compete on Wiraka DYNASTY  Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament  Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.
Media coverage of the 2018 World 9-ball Championship is being supported by the American Poolplayers Association(APA).  Join the world’s largest pool league today. Please visit
Results Losers Side Matches
Group 1
Abdulatif Alfawal(QAT) 9 – 4 Alejandro Carvajal(CHL)
Woo Seung Ryu(KOR) 9 – 3 Fayaz Hussain(MAL)
Group 2
Matt Edwards(NZL) 9 – 5 Ruslanov Stanimir(BUL)
Hunter Lombardo(USA) 9 – 7 Sami Koylu(TUR)
Group 3
Roland Garcia(PHL) 9 – 5 1 Ahmed Nizam Uddin(BAN)
David Alcaide(ESP) 9 – 2 Ahmed Aleqaly(JOR)
Group 4
Omar Alshaheen(KUW) 9 – 6 Mohammad Soufi(SYR)
Johann Chua Gonzales(PHL) 9 – 3 Wojciech Szewczyk(POL)
Group 5
Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 9 – 5 Israel Rota(PHL)
Ahmed Tanvir(BAN) 9 – 4 Fawaz Al Rashedi(KUW)
Group 6
Satoshi Kawabata(JPN) 9 – 4 Mika Immonen(FIN)
Abdullah Alenzi(KUW) 9 – 1 Vincent Halliday(RSA)
Group 7
4 Ko Ping Han(TPE) 9 – 4 Jakub Koniar(SVK)
Yu Hsuan Cheng(TPE) 9 – 2 Ahmad Mohamad Silah(JOR)
Group 8
Sharik Aslam Sayed(SIN) 9 – 6 Mohammad Berjaoui(LEB)
Hasan Idan(IRQ) 9 – 6 Mohammad Al Amin(BAN)
Group 9
Nguyen Anh Tuan(VET) 9 – 2 Llanos Jorge(ARG)
Wiktor Zielinski(POL) 9 – 8 Ameer Ali(IRQ)
Group 10
Marlon Manalo(PHL)  9 – 2 Ali Abdulhadi(QAT)
Martin Daigle(CAN) 9 – 3 Abdullah Falah(IRQ)
Group 11
Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 9 – 7 Takhti Zarekani(IRA)
Maximilian Lechner(AUS) 9 – 6 Jimmy Worung(NED)
Group 12
Ali Maghsoud(IRA) 9 – 8 Ali Maghsoud(IRA)
Wojciech Sroczynski(POL) 9 – 7 Maksim Dudanets(RUS)
Group 13
Ivar Saris(NED) 9 – 3 Robert Hart(USA)
Marek Kudlik(POL) 9 – 8 Oliver Szolnoki(HUN)
Group 14
Denis Grabe(EST) 9 – 2 Toh Lian Han(SIN)
Lin Ta Li(TPE) 9 – 8 Enrique Rojas(CHL)
Group 15
Aung Moe Thu(MYN) 9 – 3 Roberto Brillantes(PHL)
Thomas Tokoph(USA) 9 – 8 Kong Bu Hong
Group 16
Bing Chen Gao(CHN) 9 – 6 Mohammed Hassan(MAL)
Kwon Hojun(KOR) 9 – 4 Bashar Abdulmajeed(QAT)
Results Winners Side Matches
Group 1
Eklent Kaci(ALB) 9 – 6 Meshaal AL Murdhi(KUW)  
Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 9 – 8 Vitaliy Patsura(UKR)   
Group 2
Joshua Filler(GER) 9 – 5 Mazen Berjaoui(LEB)   
Jeffrey De Luna(PHL) 9 – 6 Radoslaw Babica(POL) 
Group 3
Hsu Jui An(TPE) 9 – 1 Bader Alawadhi(KUW)
Lui Ri Teng(TPE) 9 – 7 Billy Thorpe(USA)   
Group 4
Fedor Ghorst(RUS) 9 – 1 Jeong Young Hwa(KOR)
Robbie Capito(HKG) 9 – 5 Sanjin Pehlivanovic(BOS)
Group 5
Niels Feijen(NED) 9 – 7 Francisco Diaz-Pizarro(ESP)  
Corey Duel(USA) 9- 4 Petri Makkonen(FIN)
Group 6
Hsieh Chia Chen(TPE) 9 – 8 Ruslan Chinhov(RUS)  
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 5 Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL)   
Group 7
Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 9 – 8  Hayato Hijikata(JPN)  
Waleed Majid(QAT) 9 – 7 Xu Xiacong(CHN) 
Group 8
Alex Pagulayan(CAN) 9 – 8 Toru Kurbayashi(JPN)    
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 9 – 4 Roman Hybler(CZE)
Group 9
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 5 Sergey Lutsker(RUS)    
Tomoya Iima(JPN) 9 – 7 Hoang Guong Quoc(VET)   
Group 10
Wang Can(CHN) 9 – 6 Liu Haitao(CHN)  9 – 6 
Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 9 – 4 Casper Matikainen(FIN)  
Group 11
Tomasz Kaplan(POL) 9- 5 Jason Theron(RSA)   
Takano Tomoo(JPN) 9 – 8 Wu Jiaqing(CHN)  
Group 12
Chris Melling(GBR) 9 – 3 Richard Halliday(RSA) 
Lin Wu Kun(TPE)  9 – 7 Yukio Akagariyama(JPN)    
Group 13
Ko Ping Chung(TPE) 9 – 6 Nikolas Malaj(GRE)   
Shane Van Boening(USA)  9 – 7 Jalal Al Sarisi(VEN)   
Group 14
Phone Myint Kyaw(MYN) 9 – 4 Lo Ho Sum(HKG)     
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS)  9 – 4 Dang Jinhu(CHN)  
Group 15
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP) 9 – 2 John Morra(CAN)
Konrad Juszczyszyn(POL) 9 – 4 Albin Ouschan(AUS)  
Group 16
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 –2 Wen Lo Li(TPE)   
Chang Jung Lin(TPE) 9 – 8 Damianos Giallourakis(GRE)   

Van Boening, Other Top Stars Cruise On Day One In Doha

Shane Van Boening

Shane Van Boening has never won a World 9-ball Championship. He did, of course, come ever so close, finishing runner up in 2015, and 2016. After skipping last year’s championship, however, there is a palpable sense in Doha that the American star is absolutely destined to finally grab the world crown in 2018.
Interestingly there are eight former World 9-ball Champions in this year’s field, all of them still highly capable of pulling off the impossible feat yet again. But nobody is yet talking about them. It’s the moniker ‘SVB’ who is on everyone’s lips.
Van Boening has admitted that he is playing his best pool perhaps ever. After a grueling six month training regime, he led Team USA to a thrilling victory in the Mosconi Cup last week. He showed up in Doha saying he intends to win, and that he is playing with zero pressure on his shoulders.
Fans in Doha, and the pro pool community itself seem to agree something is afoot. While most players played in the relative obscure quiet of the cavernous Al Arabi Sports Club on day 1 of this year’s championship, Van Boening’s time in the arena today actually drew a fair amount of watchers. Everyone and anyone who likes pro pool around here seems to feel something special is afoot. 
The American didn’t disappoint in his first outing, as he crushed Poland’s Marek Kudlik 9-1. Good breaking, solid potting, deft safeties all showed up in Van Boening’s arsenal today. Combined with his quiet confidence, SVB laid down an early marker stating that nothing short of victory in Doha will suffice.
As all 128 players saw action on the first day of the 2018 World 9-ball Championship, it’s clear, though, that Van Boening will have plenty of serious contenders just as eager and capable of taking the crown on December 20. This year’s field is positively stacked with ferocious talent, both young and not so young. With the Wiraka tables breaking fairly easily—wing ball down, 1 in or near the side pocket—it’s all going to come down to who can handle the almost impossible pressure. Pool fans are in for a real treat over the next six days.
In the group stages it’s all about just winning two matches, to make it through to the final 64, where the tournament becomes single knockout all the way to the final. Defending champion Carlo Biado of the Philippines had an easy time of it today, easily taking down Argentina’s Llanos Jorge, 9-3. The man who lost in last year’s final to Biado, fellow Filipino Roland Garcia, came into Doha one of the hottest players in Asia and with high expectations. Garcia, though, stumbled out of the blocks to Taiwan’s Hsu Jui An, 9-8. Garcia will move over to the one loss side of his group where he needs two wins to advance.
World number one Klenti Kaci came out looking tired against the always tough Chilean Alejandro Carvajal. The Albanian teen was down four racks early but battled back to clip Carvajal at the wire, 9-7.
Pool’s young guns get more numerous and more dangerous year after year. 21 year old German sensation Joshua Filler played his usual brand of solid, care free pool in a 9-6 win over Bulgaria’s Ruslanov Stanimir. 17 year old Russian Fedor Gorst handled the always tough Kuwaiti Omar Al Shaheen, winning 9-6. 17 year old Pole Wiktor Zielinski came in with some expectations on his shoulders but he fell to Japan’s Tomoya Iima, 9-7.
It was a good day for the USA Mosconi Cup team as both Billy Thorpe and Corey Duel notched victories, and moved with one win of making the final 64. Canada’s Alex Pagulayan, a winner in 2004, barely scraped by Lebanon’s Mohammad Berjaoui, 9 – 8.  Fellow Canadian John Morra has an easier time of it today, blanking the Philippines Roberto Brillantes, 9-0.
Taiwan’s Chang Jung Lin is considered one of the tournament favorites but he struggled mightily against Korea’s Kwon Hojun. Chang was actually down 6-2 at one point but stormed back and won at the wire, 9-8.
Chang was one of eight Taiwanese notching victory today, including 2015 champion Ko Pin Yi, Ko’s younger brother Ko Ping Chun, Hsieh Chia Chen and Lin Wu Kun.  The Ko’s actually have an even younger brother in the event, Ko Ping Han, but he lost to Japan’s  Hayato Hijikata.
The four European Mosconi Cup players on hand all won today. Besides Kaci, Austria’s Albin Ouschan continued to look rock solid with a 9-4 win over the USA’s Thomas Tokoph. The Netherlands’ Niels Feijen waltzed to victory with a neat 9-5 win over the always stingy Taiwanese Chang Yu Lung. Greece’s Alexander Kazakis barely got by Slovakia’s Jakub Koniar, 9-8.
England’s Chris Melling is someone people seem to be talking about as a possible champion, and the lone British representative on hand didn’t disappoint, winning easily over the Netherlands Marc Bijsterboch, 9-2.
Former world champion Wu Jiaqing of China cruised with a 9-1 win over the Netherlands’ Jimmy Worung. China went 5 out of six today with wins also by Dang Jinhu, Liu Haitao, Wan Can and Xu Xiacong.
Former world champion and hall of famer Ralf Souquet found victory today with a 9-3 win over the Maldives’ Mohammed Hassan.  But former world champion and fellow hall of famer Mika Immonen fell to Russia’s Ruslan Chinahov, 9-5.
Qatar’s favorite player made a splash today. Waleed Majid, who made it to the quarterfinals here in 2014, showed that he has clawed his way back into championship form with a 9-5 win over former US Open champion, Yu Hsuan “Kevin” Cheng.
Play continues on Saturday in Doha at the Al Arabi with the action beginning at 10am local time(GMT +3.) After the four sessions on Saturday, 32 players will be out and 32 players will be through to the final 64.
The winner of the 2018 World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000. The runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
*The 2018 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from December 10-20, 2018. The event is hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by The World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.
Fans around the world will be able to view many of the matches via the QBSF’s free live streaming platform. Multiple tables will be available to view online at no charge to the public. Please visit the WPA Facebook Page for more information.
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa
Visit the official website of the WPA at
The players will compete on Wiraka DYNASTY  Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament  Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.
Media coverage of the 2018 World 9-ball Championship is being supported by the American Poolplayers Association(APA).  Join the world’s largest pool league today. Please visit
Results Day 1
Group 1
Eklent Kaci(ALB) 9-7 Alejandro Carvajal(CHL)
Meshaal AL Murdhi(KUW) 9 – 5 Abdulatif Alfawal(QAT)
Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 9 – 3 Fayaz Hussain(MAL)
Vitaliy Patsura(UKR) 9 – 5 Woo Seung Ryu(KOR)
Group 2
Joshua Filler(GER) 9 – 6 Ruslanov Stanimir(BUL)
Mazen Berjaoui(LEB) 9 – 6 Matt Edwards(NZL)
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 9 – 5 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
Jeffrey De Luna(PHL) 9 – 7 Sami Koylu(TUR)
Group 3
Hsu Jui An(TPE) 9 – 8 Roland Garcia(PHL)
Bader Alawadhi(KUW) 9 – 1 Ahmed Nizam Uddin(BAN)
Billy Thorpe(USA) 9 – 4 Ahmed Aleqaly(JOR)
Lui Ri Teng(TPE) 9 – 1 David Alcaide(ESP)
Group 4
Fedor Ghorst(RUS) 9 – 6 Omar Alshaheen(KUW)
Jeong Young Hwa(KOR) 9 – 7 Mohammad Soufi(SYR)
Robbie Capito(HKG) 9 – 5 Wojciech Szewczyk(POL)
Sanjin Pehlivanovic(BOS) 9 – 7 Johann Chua Gonzales(PHL)
Group 5
Niels Feijen(NED) 9 – 5 Chang Yu Lung(TPE)
Francisco Diaz-Pizarro(ESP) 9 – 2 Israel Rota(PHL)
Corey Duel(USA) 9- 5 Ahmed Tanvir(BAN)
Petri Makkonen(FIN) 9 – 3 Fawaz Al Rashedi(KUW)
Group 6
Hsieh Chia Chen(TPE) 9 – 3 Satoshi Kawabata(JPN)
Ruslan Chinhov(RUS) 9 – 5 Mika Immonen(FIN)
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 7 Vincent Halliday(RSA)
Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL) 9 – 6 Abdullah Alenzi(KUW)
Group 7
Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 9 – 8  Jakub Koniar(SVK) 
Hayato Hijikata(JPN) 9 – 4 Ko Ping Han(TPE)
Xu Xiacong(CHN) 9 – Ahmad Mohamad Silah(JOR)
Waleed Majid(QAT) 9 – 5 Yu Hsuan Cheng(TPE)
Group 8
Alex Pagulayan(CAN) 9 – 8 Mohammad Berjaoui(LEB)
Toru Kurbayashi(JPN) 9 – 5 Sharik Aslam Sayed(SIN)
Roman Hybler(CZE) 9- 8 Mohammad Al Amin(BAN)
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 9 – 4 Hasan Idan(IRQ)
Group 9
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 3 Llanos Jorge(ARG)
Sergey Lutsker(RUS) 9 – 8  Nguyen Anh Tuan(VET)
Tomoya Iima(JPN) 9 – 7 Wiktor Zielinski(POL) 
Hoang Guong Quoc(VET) 9 – 5 Ameer Ali(IRQ)
Group 10
Liu Haitao(CHN) 9 – 2 Ali Abdulhadi(QAT)
Wang Can(CHN) 9 – 6 Marlon Manalo(PHL)  
Casper Matikainen(FIN) 9 – 8 Martin Daigle(CAN)
Naoyuki Oi(JPN)  9 – 2 Abdullah Falah(IRQ)
Group 11
Jason Theron(RSA) 9 – 6 Thorsten Hohmann(GER)
Tomasz Kaplan(POL) 9 – 6 Takhti Zarekani(IRA)
Takano Tomoo(JPN) 9 – 7 Maximilian Lechner(AUS)
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 9 – 1 Jimmy Worung(NED)
Group 12
Chris Melling(GBR) 9 – 2 Marc Bijsterboch(NED)
Richard Halliday(RSA) Ali Maghsoud(IRA)
Yukio Akagariyama(JPN) 9 – 6 Maksim Dudanets(RUS)
Lin Wu Kun(TPE) 9 – 5 Wojciech Sroczynski(POL)
Group 13
Ko Ping Chung(TPE) 9 – 6 Ivar Saris(NED)
Nikolas Malaj(GRE) 9 – 3 Robert Hart(USA)
Jalal Al Sarisi(VEN) 9 – 5 Oliver Szolnoki(HUN)
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 1 Marek Kudlik(POL)
Group 14
Phone Myint Kyaw(MYN) 9 – 3 Denis Grabe(EST) 
Lo Ho Sum(HKG) 9 – 3 Toh Lian Han(SIN) 
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) 9 – 8  Enrique Rojas(CHL)
Dang Jinhu(CHN) 9 – 8 Lin Ta Li(TPE)
Group 15
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP) 9 – 6 Aung Moe Thu(MYN)
John Morra(CAN) 9 – 0 Roberto Brillantes(PHL)
Konrad Juszczyszyn(POL) 9 – 4 Kong Bu Hong(HKG)
Albin Ouschan(AUS) 9 – 4 Thomas Tokoph(USA)
Group 16
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 3 Mohammed Hassan(MAL)
Wen Lo Li(TPE) 9 – 5 Bing Chen Gao(CHN)
Damianos Giallourakis(GRE) 9 – 7 Bashar Abdulmajeed(QAT) 
Chang Jung Lin(TPE) 9 – 8 Kwon Hojun(KOR) 

Carlo Biado defeats Jundel Mazon in all-Filipino finals, wins 10-ball Jogja Open, pockets $12,000

Hushley Jusayan, Jundel Mazon, and Carlo Biado

With a grand finale performance that spoke of true greatness and warrior, Carlo Biado capped an amazing week in Indonesia, winning the 10-ball Jogja Open International Billiard Tournament 2018 with a brilliant 13-11 win over compatriot Jundel Mazon in front of crazy billiards fanatics at the Rama Billiard in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
"First of all I would like to thank God for winning this prestigious international billiard tournament. My wife, who is always beside me and my relative and friends as well." said the 34-year-old Biado of La Union who became the fifth Filipino to ever win the men's world championships title, and the first since Francisco "Django" Bustamante in 2010, finishing on top of a competition that saw 128 players from over 40 countries compete for the top prize by beating countryman Roland Garcia, 13-5, in  the 2017 World 9-Ball Championship held at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha, Qatar last December.
On the road to an-all Filipino finals here at the 10-ball Jogja Open, Biado needed to beat Ricky Yang of Indonesia, 11-5, in the semi-final matches while Mazon toppled another Filipinio entry Hushley Jusayan, 11-9, in another final four match-up.
For winning the 2018 10-ball Jogja Open, Biado pocketed $12,000. Mazon took home $6,000 while Jusayan received $2,000.
With the victory, Biado, Mazon and Jusayan's performance boosted the nation's morale, said International Billiards and Snooker Champion "Marvelous" Marlon Manalo.
“Once again our flag has been raised in this foreign land after knowing that our Filipino kababayans  Carlo Biado, Jundel Mazon and Hushley Jusayan completed the country’s domination (top three winners) in the just ended 10-ball Jogja Open International Billiard Tournament 2018 last Sunday," said Marlon Manalo, National Press Relation Officer (PRO) of League of Barangays of the Philippines.
"Carlo, Jundel and Husayan's victory could not have come at a better time. He gives us something to cheer for," added Barangay Malamig chairman Marlon Manalo, the incumbent ABC president in Mandaluyong City

Players Feel The Heat From On High

Dennis Orcollo (Photo courtesy of Takayamo Takao/ and the WPA)

(Doha, Qatar)–When players and fans talk about the “pool gods,” they’re referring to that mysterious force that seems to regularly take over important matches, sometimes for no apparent reason. Often times, though, in hindsight, there are clear reasons for the gods’ actions; to stamp down over confidence, reward risk, or penalize players for missing shots that were meant as gifts. Anyone who’s watched or played enough pool swears the pool gods are real. These other worldly forces provide the ingredients for championship pool’s incredible nerve racking drama.
The pool gods certainly appeared to be hovering over the proceedings Wednesday inside the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha, as the final 64 players did battle in a rollicking day long pool-fest in the first single elimination round of the 2013 World 9-ball Championship.
After the 11 hours of play, 32 players headed for the exits, while 32 stayed alive and will come back Thursday for a veritable sprint to the finish line that promises some incredibly exciting pool. By the end of play Thursday, the run for pool’s biggest prize will be down to just four players.
There was nothing anyone could call a major upset today, but the twists and turns provided a full day’s entertainment for the several hundred fans on hand. For many of the players, they looked like they had just emerged from full scale battle.
Taiwan’s Chang Jung Lin must surely being looking upstairs and asking lots of questions today. The world ranked number 8 came to Doha with heavy expectations and deservedly so as he is Taiwan’s number 1 player and is a proven winner of big events.
Down 4-2 in a race to 11 match against German veteran Oliver Ortmann in the day’s first of four sessions, Chang stormed in front 6-4 and looked to be marching towards victory. But suddenly, the towering Chang’s break shot completely abandoned him. Unable to find an opening after the break, or even pot a ball, Chang lost his confidence, while Ortmann, seizing on the moment, found his. The German won seven straight racks to send Chang packing.
 “It all depends on the break shot,” Ortmann said. “You have to hope your opponent breaks bad. That’s the only chance you have against a guy like him. I know how good he is. He’s one of the best in the world so to beat him gives me a lot of confidence.”
Taiwan's Ko Pin YisWith his performance today, Chang’s stable mate Ko Pin Yi has certainly installed himself as one of the favorites to at least make it to the final four after tomorrow. Ko has been untouchable this week and continued his fine run today, easily beating Korea’s Ryu Seung Woo, 11 – 2.
The first session featured several showdowns between former world champions. 2001 World Champion Mika Immonen was down 3-1 to 2004 World Champion Alex Pagulayan. The Finn, however, turned up the heat and won 11-6. Immonen has been playing superb pool at the highest levels for the last six months and, as usual for Mika, confidence was in no short order.   
“I feel solid,” he said. “If it’s an equal opportunity, I like my chances here.”
China’s supremely talented Wu Chia Ching always provides a heavy dose of reality to anyone he plays. 2000 World 9-ball Champion Chao Fong Pang, however, didn’t seem too impressed early on. The veteran Chao led Wu through the first three quarters of their match. But Wu proved to be just too good and won down the stretch, 11-8.
Filipino fans had hoped their hero Efren “Bata” Reyes could conjure up the old magic just one more time. But the Netherlands Nick Van Den Berg would have none of it as he handily defeated Reyes 11-5.
“I had an answer on almost every safety he played,” Van den Berg said. “For the rest i played solid and my break is getting better.”
Those pesky pool gods made their presence felt in the second session, just when Great Britain’s Karl Boyes thought he had a slot in the final 32 in his back pocket. Boyes had cruised to a 10-4 lead over the Philippines Marlon Villamor when, out of the blue, his break abandoned him. At the same time, Villamor started freewheeling and playing lights out pool, and tied the contest at 10-10.
Boyes was a bag full of nerves in the last rack and was faced with a safety on the 1-ball, or a difficult bank. The bank was one of those shots that if it goes wrong he loses, but if it goes right, he hits the jackpot with a win. Boyes chose to risk everything and nailed the bank and went on to run the table for a spot in the Final 32.
After the hell-ride of a match, Boyes was left shaking his head in disbelief, but also realizing how the higher powers play tricks with your mind.
Great Britain's Karl Boyes“The gods just changed up on me,” the Brit said. “You feel like you’ve seen it all in this game and then something else happens. You can never fully understand 9-ball. One minute I’m in total control and he’s gone. The next minute I’m under pressure and shaking like a leaf and he’s looking great.
“I played so many safes against him and he kicked out and had me hooked. So I figured I’m not letting him back at the table. If I’m going to go out, I’m going to go home hitting the ball.”
That sounds like something the gods like to hear, Karl.
Just about the same time, the USA’s Corey Duel and Great Britain’s Daryl Peach, the 2007 World Champion, were doing battle on the precipice as they slowly ground their way to a 10-10 thriller. In the final rack, Peach got highly unlucky on one safe, only to play a brilliant out on the next shot that led to an open table and a massive sigh of relief when the final 9-ball dropped.
In other action in session two, the Philippines Lee Vann Corteza had to come from behind early to take out pesky Manuel Gama of Portugal, 11-7. Austria’s 20 year old Mario He ensured his best result ever in a world championship with an 11-7 win over Mark Gray of Great Britain. Greece’s Nick Ekonomopoulos finally had a solid match with a strong 11-8 win over China’s Wang Can.
The drama continued in the evening as the Philippines Dennis Orcollo and Taiwan’s Cheng Yu Hsuan engaged in an amazingly high quality and tense affair in front of several hundred partisan Filipino fans.
It looked dark days for Orcollo early on as he fell behind 7-2. But Orcollo knows that in pool, you sometimes have to just bide your time and wait for that mysterious momentum to turn. Indeed that chance came with the Filipino about to go 8-3 down when Cheng missed a 7-ball. From there, the pool gods swung the “mo” to the other side and Orcollo was soon up 8-7.  The pair then duked it out right to the bitter end and Orcollo pulled it out at the wire.   
“At the beginning he got lucky and I had a few dry breaks,” Orcollo said. “But I just stayed calm and I just wait for my chance. When he missed the seven ball, I knew right there that that was my chance. Instead of 8-3, it’s now 7-4. Then the balls turned against him.”
 Across the room, 2003 World Champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany looked like he was dead in the water down 10-8 to Japan’s Toru Kuribayashi. But two late mistakes by the Japanese left the door open for Hohmann, and he stormed back for a heart pounding 11-10 win.
Defending champion Darren Appleton kept his hopes alive with an 11-4 win over 19 year Dutchman Ivo Aarts. Also advancing were Canada’s John Morra, Indonesia’s Mohammed Zulfikri, and the Philippines Jeff de Luna, who battled hard against the Netherlands Niels Feijen and won 11-9.
The Philippines Dennis OrcolloThe Philippines continued to look exceptionally strong in the final session of the night. Carlo Biado got out to a quick start against German Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet and never looked back, winning 11-5. Come backing Marlon Manalo put lid on the hopes of Kuwait with a workmanlike win over 21 year Omar Al Shaheen. Veteran Ramil Gallego defeated Chile’s Enrique Rojas, 11-8.
Great Britain ended the day with five players remaining and Chris Melling looks to be one of the strongest at the moment. The 2011 China Open champion can be positively ferocious when he is on his game, and that looks to be the case this week. Melling played near perfect pool in an 11-7 win over Taiwan’s Chang Yu Lung.
“I played unbelievable,” said Melling, never shy of confidence. “I ran seven racks off my own break. 
I think I’m playing better than when I won the China Open.”
Also advancing were Spain’s David Alcaide, Venezuela’s Jalal Yousef, and the USA’s Shane Van Boening. Van Boening had an easy time today with an 11-2 waltz over Lebanon’s Mohd Ali Berjawi.
Long time pool fans will certainly be cheering the progress of Italy’s Fabior Petroni, who has seemingly rolled back the clock this week. Petroni certainly looked fab with a fine 11-6 win over Switzerland’s Dmitri Jungo.
Thursday promises to be the events most exciting day as the field will be reduced from 32 players down to four. Look for the  pool gods  to be hanging around the Al Arabi throughout the day.
The semi-finals and finals will be played on Friday, September 13.
Play begins Thursday at 11am(GMT +3)
The winner of the 2013 World 9-ball Championship receives $36,000. The runner up will pocket $18,000. The total prize fund is $250,000.
*The World Pool-Billiard Association(WPA)  will be on hand in Doha throughout the week bringing you all the drama from the 2013 World 9-ball Championship. WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner will be reporting from the Al Arabi Sports Club with daily articles containing insight, interviews and analysis, as well as photos. Ted will also be manning the WPA Facebook page and Twitter feed and responding to fans queries and comments. Fans can also follow all matches via the WPA live scoring platform.  
Please visit the WPA Facebook page for the 2013 World 9-ball Championship here
Follow the WPA on Twitter:  @poolwpa
Visit the official website of the WPA at

The British Are Coming! … And So Are The Filipinos And Taiwanese

Mark Gray



(Doha, Qatar)–There’s something about Judgement Day in the World 9-ball Championship that brings out the wild drama, and the crazy pressure that  is unique to professional pool at the highest levels.

It makes a high stakes money game seem like child’s play. This is, after all,  the world championship. And this is the moment where, with the field about to be cut in half, with all matches do or die, a player  gets his chance to reach  the final 64 single elimination stage. From there,  in just three days with six more wins, he might just make history and win a world title.
Sure, for most players this incredible dream will remain just that. But pool is a sport where the slimmest roll of the ball, even just a millimeter, can mean the difference between staying a nobody or being crowned king. As long as you’re still standing, there’s always that chance at history, and with that carrot dangling out there, that means nerves rattling, arms and wills weakening, and unbearable pressure taking its toll.
As the Philippines Marlon Manalo said today after winning his match and advancing to the final 64; “Was I nervous? Sure I was nervous. You could win a world championship, right?”
Indeed with careers on the line, Day 4 of the 2013 World Pool Championship proved to be a Judgement Day in all its glory. 32 players made it through to join 32 others from Monday to make up the big dance, where it now becomes a single elimination knockout,  race to 11, all the way to Friday’s race to 13 Final. For the 32 players who didn’t make it, the walk to the exits and into the all-encompassing heat of Doha was surely  long and lonely.
On a macro level, the final 64 is dominated by pool’s powerhouse countries. As usual, the Philippines makes up a good portion of the field, just about one-fifth, as an amazing 13 Filipinos qualified for the knockout rounds. The British, including defending champion Darren Appleton, put in their finest performance perhaps ever, as all seven of their entries qualified for the final 64. Taiwan will be making its customary run at the crown, as seven players from Chinese-Taipei made it. Next up are Germany and the Netherlands, each bringing four players to the main ball.
Even when a match was fairly one sided today, nobody could escape the pressure. Manalo, whose been spending the last three year involved in local politics in his home area of Metro Manila, got a taste of what he’d been missing today. Even though he had little trouble with Poland’s Sniegocki Mateusz in a 9-4 win, Manalo still found himself dealing with nerves.
“Yes I felt the pressure,” Manalo said. “This is my first tournament in three years and I’m not 100% confident. Being an elected official is a very busy job and I only had a chance to practice a few times coming back. My confidence is not yet back to 100%. But I do have a big heart. As long as you have the heart you can win here.”
The Philippines' Efren ReyesAnother man who was feeling massive pressure was Manalo’s legendary countryman, Efren Reyes. Reyes seemed to have an easy time out there with Korea’s Jeong Young H, winning 9-4. But the man known as “the magician” can’t ever get away from the expectations of his fellow Filipinos, who always expect him to win. Reyes can’t escape  from the expectations even in Doha, as there are tens of thousands of Filipinos living and working here.  
“They always think I will win and if I don’t win it’s no good to them,” a smiling Reyes said. “Too much pressure out there. Maybe if I can win a few matches I’m gonna play good without pressure but now, too much.”
If players who waltz are feeling the heat, what more guys like Mark Gray? The Brit went up against 2011 World 9-ball Champion Yukio Akagariyama of Japan today in a rematch of their 11-10 thriller in the semi-finals  the same year Yukio won the crown.
Gray was hungry for a bit of revenge. Plus he craved personal and professional redemption. The 40 year old from Petersborough, Cambridgeshire became a dad earlier this year and hasn’t played in any world events recently. In addition his last few years of pool have been filled with a string of disappointments.
The two top tier players engaged in a toe to toe battle that went to a nerve jangling one rack decider. Yukio broke dry and left Gray a wide open table. Gray, who by now was visibly feeling the heat, had only the  9-ball left to win but his position wasn’t perfect and he missed the shot. Luckily, all Yukio could see was a full table bank. The Japanese went for it and missed, leaving Gray a hanger, and a coveted spot in the round of 64.
“That’s the first bit of luck I’ve had in five years,” a relieved and delighted Gray said afterward. “I didn’t feel confident out there. I needed a result and to beat the 2011 world champion to qualify feels really really good.”
In a match that could have been a terrific final, Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann, the 2003 World 9-ball Champion, took on the Philippines Hall of Famer Francisco Bustamante, the 2010 World 9-ball Champion. The match was every bit the cracker the two names suggested it would be, with a palpable intensity throughout. The two were tied half way through but Hohmann took advantage of several good rolls and close the deal to win, 9-6.
Germany's Hohmann took down a rejected Bustamante of the Philippines“It was intense out there,” Hohmann said. “At 5-5 I got a couple of good rolls and at the end I didn’t miss.” 
Hohmann couldn’t help but get a bit emotional about the match as he recalled his younger days in Germany when Bustamante, who was based there for many years, was considered pool royalty. 
“I grew up playing against him,” Hohmann said. “He was like a pool god then. I’ve beaten him in many important matches. He has a lot of respect for me and that only makes me play better when I play against him. That gives me confidence. And I have a lot of respect for him.”
England’s Chris Melling put in another fine performance today with a 9-3 win over Taiwan’s Kuo Po Cheng, winning 9-3. In a tense test of wills, Carlo Biado came back from 7-5 down to beat Canada’s Jason Klatt, 9-7.  Vietnam’s Nguyen Anh Tuan put in perhaps the best performance of the day, blanking one of China’s best players Liu Haitao, 9-0. It wasn’t a good day for the Chinese, as China’s number one player and last year’s runner up, Li Hewen, surprisingly crashed out, falling to the Philippines Raymond Faroun, 9-7.
Also advancing with hard won victories today were Fil-Canadian Alex Pagulayan, Germany’s 21 year old Dominic Jentsch, Holland’s 19 year old Ivo Aarts, Switzerland’s Dmitri Jungo,  Brits Imran Majid, Karl Boyes and Phil Buford.
The Philippines Lee Vann Corteza  had to overcome some early nerves and pulled away from a tight early match to beat Kuwait’s very tough Salah Al Rimawi, 9-4.
Switerland's Dmitri Jungo advancedTwo late matches came right down to the last ball. Tied at 8 with Japanese veteran Satoshi Kawabata, Greece’s Nick Ekonmopoulos looked like he could barely hold the cue. But he buckled down for the final clear and a spot in the final 64.
American veteran Corey Duel surely should have had no problem with Singapore’s young Aloysius Yapp. But the unbearable pressure got the best of both players, so much so that it appeared to cloud their vision in the final one rack decider. Yapp was looking for the quickest route out and went for a homerun with a 1-9 combo only to predictably miss. Duel took the rack and the spot in the final 64.
The country of Lebanon had  its first ever success to celebrate as Mohd Ali Berjawi defeated Qatar’s Mhana Al Obaidly to become the first ever Lebanese pool player to advance this deep into a world 9-ball championship. Berjawi surely has no chance of winning the world 9-ball championship. But the expression on his face after what for him and his country was an amazing accomplishment, spoke volumes about how pool, and this world championship, can be so exciting and so much fun. When asked if he thought he could win the tournament Berjawi  smiled.
“I have hope,” he said. “All the players have hope. That’s why we’re all here.”
Play in the Final 64 begins Wednesday at 11am local time(GMT +3) with all matches single elimination race to 11, alternate break.  The finals, which will take place on September 13th, will be a race to 13.
The winner of the 2013 World 9-ball Championship receives $36,000. The runner up will pocket $18,000. The total prize fund is $250,000.
*The World Pool-Billiard Association(WPA)  will be on hand in Doha throughout the week bringing you all the drama from the 2013 World 9-ball Championship. WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner will be reporting from the Al Arabi Sports Club with daily articles containing insight, interviews and analysis, as well as photos. Ted will also be manning the WPA Facebook page and Twitter feed and responding to fans queries and comments. Fans can also follow all matches via the WPA live scoring platform.  
Please visit the WPA Facebook page for the 2013 World 9-ball Championship here
For live scoring of all matches CLICK HERE
Follow the WPA on Twitter:  @poolwpa
Visit the official website of the WPA at

The Big Dance Starts To Take Shape

Enrique Rojas



(Doha, Qatar)–Relief and pure joy were two emotions on wide display on Day 3 of the 2013 World 9-ball Championship,  as 32 players booked their spots into Wednesday’s Final 64, the single elimination knockout phase that signals the real start of pool’s most prestigious event.

Relief came from those top players who just wanted to notch their second win and put the madness that can be the group stages behind them. Pure joy came from the other players, those that know that winning this tournament is a massive long shot, and just getting through to the big dance is a career defining moment in itself.
The 128 player field that began here on Saturday was already considered by many to be the strongest ever gathered for this event. As the wannabes wither and the main stage starts to take shape, the remaining field promises to offer a brilliant collection of cue artists from all corners of the globe. It’s the kind of shot in the arm the sport of pool needs.
Today’s play inside the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha was given over to only winners’ side matches. Winners advanced to the Final 64, while losers were sent over to the losers side of their group brackets, where they will play for one more chance tomorrow on Judgement Day.
Middle Eastern pool once again shined brightly in the form of Omar Al Shaheen. Any lingering doubts about the authenticity of Al Shaheen’s pool genius, which he’s proudly displayed over the last year, were surely put to rest today as the 21 year old Kuwaiti laid waste to the Philippines Marlon Manalo, 9-1.
Manalo’s making a bit of a comeback after a three year hiatus, but anyone who knows this sport still considers the Filipino a true monster out on the floor. That didn’t seem to bother Al Shaheen  as he looked like he was having a stroll along the blue waters of the Gulf.
“I broke the balls good and always had a shot after the break,” said Al Shaheen. “He break the balls bad and can never see a ball.”
Kuwait's Omar Al Shaheen Can Al Shaheen go all the way? The university student who studies sports psychology is a long shot for sure, but his odds are definitely improving quickly. He reached the last 16 here last year and fought bravely in going out to eventual runner-up Li Hewen of China. In May of this year, Al Shaheen reached the semi-finals of the China Open in Shanghai, one of pool’s major events. He seems to be the man of the moment, and he’ll have the chance to prove it beginning Wednesday.
Defending champion Darren Appleton wore a smile of relief today after beating Korea’s Jeong Young H, 9-5. Like other favorites here, Appleton revealed that the two stage format had been playing tricks on his mind. You know you should win, but you could very easily find yourself sliding down a vortex of negativity if you’re not paying attention.
 “I was worried because if I lose I have to play Efren(Reyes),” Appleton said. “With all the Filipinos here that’s like playing in front of his hometown crowd. But if you come here to win this tournament you can’t think about who you’re going to play.  I made a few silly mind mistakes, like taking it easy when I was up 6-2. But I had 70% break and run outs. I played pretty well and I’m happy. I just wanted to get through to the final 64.”
China's Wu Jia QingTwo of Taiwain’s heavyweights, Chang Jun Lin and Ko Pin Yi, came through with nothing to worry about. Chang crushed Spain’s Marc Claramunt 9- 1, while Ko had an easy time with Qatar’s top player, Waleed Majed, 9-4. Another Taiwan player who always seems to play under the radar but who can do some serious damage is Cheng Yu Lung, who held off Great Britain’s Chris Melling, 9-5. 
The Philippines came out with a mixed bag today with four players advancing and five being swept over to the losers side. World number 2 Dennis Orcullo breezed past Poland’s Tomasz Kaplan, 9-4, to qualify. Antonio Gabica quietly remains one of the stronger Filipinos in the massive contingent of greats the country produces.  Gabica has lived in Qatar for four years now working as an assistant coach for the Qatar national team. Gabica even wears the colors of Qatar while playing. But his game and heart are true Filipino, something Germany’s young Dominic  Jentsch discovered today. Gabica won 9-7 to advance.
2010 World 9-ball Champion Francisco Bustamante wasn’t so fortunate as he stumbled to Portugal’s surprising Manueal Gama, 9-6. Jeffrey De Luna fell to a strong Mika Immonen by the same score.
Completely unheralded Filipino Marlon Caneda was the surprise of the day with a 9-0 trouncing of tough Greek player Nick Ekonmopoulos. The 30 year old Caneda has a hard luck story that makes it difficult not to root for him. He has spent the last four years working as a house pro at the Run Out pool club in the remote Saudi Arabian town of Sakaka Aljouf. Caneda earns a mere $700 a month which he uses to support his child, mother and sickly grandmother back in the Philippines.
The lonely hard scrabble existence has its upsides for Caneda, though. He practices up to 12 hours each and every day.
World number three Lee Vann Corteza found himself in a back and forth dog fight with Albania’s Nick Malaj. The 26 year old Malaj, who currently lives in Athens, is no longer the upstart he was last year when he burst onto the scene here in Doha. Fighting toe to toe with Corteza, Malaj came back from 8-7 down to shock the Filipino and advance, 9-8.
“That’s the third time I played him and the first time I beat him,” a drained but excited Malaj said afterward. “If I lose to the same guy three times, that’s no good. And Filipinos are good players so I feel like a massive weight has been taken off my shoulders.”
Other players who advanced today were the USA’s Shane Van Boening, Germany’s Ralf Souquet, the Netherlands Nick Van Den Berg and Niels Feijen, Hungary’s come backing Vilmos Foldes, Austria’s Mario He, Russia’s Konstanin Stepanov and Ruslan Chinakhov, and Italy’s Fabio Petroni.
China’s Wang Can will be seeing action on Wednesday as well. Wang made waves in the US earlier with a semi-final finish at the Ultimate 10-ball event. He continued his fine run today easily beating the Philippines Ramil Gallego today, 9-1.
One player everyone has their eyes squarely glued on is former World 9-ball and World 8-ball champion Wu Jia Qing(formerly known as Wu Chia Ching.) Wu, who only last November returned from spending two years in the Taiwan military scrubbing toilets and floors and never touching his cue stick, continued what looks to be a very serious comeback to the top echelons of the sport, after he reached the semi-finals of the China Open in May. Today, Wu, who now lives in and plays for China, looked impenetrable as he defeated a very strong Karl Boyes of Great Britain, 9-4, to qualify.
One of the best feel-good stories of the tournament so far continued again today as Chile’s Enrique Rojas did something none of his countrymen have ever done: he qualified for the knockout stage of the world championship. The 35 year old Rojas played in this event in 2005, 2006 and 2007 but never advanced past the group stage. Two days ago he upended heavily favoured Li Hewen of China 9-6. Today Rojas beat Aloysius Yapp of Singapore by the same score to finally enter the round of 64 on Wednesday.
32 more matches are on tap Tuesday with the appropriately titled Judgement Day.  Nerves and drama are sure to be cascading throughout the Al Arabi Sports Club as every match is win-or-go home and careers could be hanging in the balance. 
Play begins at 12pm local time(GMT +3) with all matches race to 9, alternate break.  The single elimination round of 64  begins Wednesday with all matches race to 11, alternate break. The finals, which will take place on September 13th, will be a race to 13, alternate break.
The winner of the 2013 World 9-ball Championship receives $36,000. The runner up will pocket $18,000. The total prize fund is $250,000.
*The World Pool-Billiard Association(WPA)  will be on hand in Doha throughout the week bringing you all the drama from the 2013 World 9-ball Championship. WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner will be reporting from the Al Arabi Sports Club with daily articles containing insight, interviews and analysis, as well as photos. Ted will also be manning the WPA Facebook page and Twitter feed and responding to fans queries and comments. Fans can also follow all matches via the WPA live scoring platform.  
Please visit the WPA Facebook page for the 2013 World 9-ball Championship here 
Follow the WPA on Twitter:  @poolwpa 
Visit the official website of the WPA at
*The 2013World 9-ball will be held in Doha, Qatar from September 2-13,2013 and is sanctioned by the World Pool & Billiard Association(WPA), the world governing body of the sport of pocket billiards. 128 players from across the globe will compete for the biggest prize in Men’s Pool. The 2013  World 9-ball Championship is a WPA ranking event.

Kick Off Right on Script

China’s He Wen Li



(Doha, Qatar)–Fans of the World 9-ball Championship have become accustomed to the fun of shocking first day upsets that send great players scrambling over to the do-or-die losers side and, at the same time, introduce us to new names from far flung nations that we had no idea produced such talented pool players.

Saturday in blazing hot Doha, Qatar was, except for one match right at the end, not one of those days.
96 players out of the 128 in the field vying for 9-ball supremacy saw action today inside the icy cold Al Arabi Sports Club, and by and large the story line for the eight hours of play hardly veered from a predictable script.  This is not to suggest that some of pool’s biggest names didn’t taste defeat. Or that we didn’t see some great new talent.  But in those matches which featured a clear favourite versus a massive underdog, 99% of the favorites came through with hardly a scratch.
The phrase “the luck of the draw” couldn’t be more apt in this case. The random draw to determine the seedings done at the players meeting on Friday night left some of the top players with clear mismatches, say against a player from Qatar, while other big names were faced with a match that could make a solid quarter-final or even a semi-final.
The latter was the case for the legend Efren Reyes of the Philippines. While the 50 or so Filipino fans who showed up to watch their hero fully expected him to win the race to 9 alternate break match, Reyes’ opponent was, even on paper, very much his current equal.  Hsu Kai Lun has been one of Taiwan’s top young guns for several years now. He even reached the finals of the 2011 China Open in Shanghai. 
Hsu raced out to a 6-0 lead as Reyes couldn’t get a good look at anything. Reyes stormed back to cut it to 6-4, but the tough Hsu hung on for a crowd-disappointing 9-5 win.
“My first break was illegal,” a smiling but disappointed Reyes said afterward. “The second one I get hooked. 3rd illegal. 5th break I get hooked. No good. I’m no lucky today.”
Even in matches where a top player was a clear favourite, they were having to wake up quick to the incredible talent that is literally everywhere these days.
Finland's Mika ImmonenDefending champion Darren Appleton was tied at 3-3 in his center table match versus 19 year old Dutch upstart Ivo Aarts.  Appleton even admitted to feeling the proverbial heat and worried that he might make a fool out of himself. He eventually won 9-4 but not before a bit of soul searching.
“He’s a good young player,” Appleton said of Aarts. “I could see he was nervous, he’s playing on the TV table, against the world champion. But I was under pressure too. Being the defending champ I wanted to perform well so I told myself to calm down, not play so quick. I broke and ran four times, and made some nice long shots, which is the key to winning this tournament. I’m happy with the way I played.”
Moments before his match with Jordan’s Naif Abdulafou, someone came up to 2001 World 9-ball champion Mika Immonen and told him that Adulafou didn’t have much game. Immonen  admitted afterwards that the message stuck into his subconscious, and he suddenly lacked that competitive nervous edge that he likes to take out on to the floor. With the score tied at 3-3, Immonen said, “I had to slap myself inside my head to get it together.” He did and won going away 9-3.
England’s Chris Melling found himself in one of those “luck of the draw matches” against one of the Philippines hottest players, Carlo Biado.  Melling, who’s been in a slump over the last year, looked anything but washed up as he played lights out pool to handily defeat Biado, 9-5.
“I played perfect,” Melling said afterward.
The Al Arabi Sports ClubAnother good matchup between two top tier players featured the Philippines’ Jeffery De Luna and Polish veteran Radoslaw Babica. De Luna, once known for having pool’s most explosive break shot, has calmed down his break and his game in the last two years. He played a solid match throughout and sent Babica over to the losers side of their group with a sweet 9-5 win.
2003 World 9-ball Champion Thorsten Hohmann is always a betting favourite coming into any major. But he drew one of Asia’s most unheralded talents in Taiwan’s Lo Li Wen. Lo, who resides in Japan, has, in the last few years, shown that he  is one of those players who is able to switch his game into high gear for the majors.  Lo looks ready to make some noise this year as he lead throughout the match and won going away, 9-4.
The Philippines come backing Marlon Manalo showed he is still a monster on the table as he walloped the USA’s Hunter Lombardo 9-4. Kuwait’s Omar Al Shaheen, who  made to the final 16 here last year and is the Middle East’s top player, got off to a fast start with a 9-3 win over Hong Kong’s Kenny Kwok. 1996 World 9-ball Champion Ralf Souquet had all he could handle from Egyptian brawler Mohamed Elassal, before pulling away for a 9-6 victory. The Netherlands Nick Van Den Berg handled the USA’s Corey Duel, 9-5. Other notable who notched convincing wins included the USA’s Shane Van Boening, the Philippine Francisco Bustamante, China’s Wu Jia Qing(formerly Wu Chia Ching), and Taiwanese Ko Pin Yi and Chang Jung Lin.
Easily the biggest shocker of the day happened right as the curtain was coming down on play on Day 1. China’s Li Hewen came within one rack of winning the world title last year. And judging by his usual consistent and high level play, he had to be considered one of the favorites coming in to this year’s tournament.
Now the bespectacled Li is fighting for his pool life after suffering a 9-6 defeat to Chile’s Enrique Rojas. And this was no fluke win for Rojas.  The 34 year old, who has appeared in this event back in 2005, 2006 and 2007, led from the start, controlled the match throughout and withstood everything Li could throw at him. Rojas, who has never qualified for the knockout rounds of a world championship, even admitted that Li was the one feeling the pressure.
Li Hewen of China“I only made two mistakes out there,” Rojas said through an interpreter. “I can see that he is getting nervous too. He was frustrated.  I’m very surprised. This is the biggest win of my pool career.”
Play in the group stages continues at 12pm local time(GMT +3) on Sunday with the remaining 32 players seeing action. Losers side matches will also take place on Sunday.
The players are divided into 16 groups of 8 players each, playing double elimination. Four players from each group will advance to the Final 64 which becomes a single elimination knockout with race to 11, alternate break. The finals, which will take place on September 13th, will be a race to 13.
The winner of the 2013 World 9-ball Championship receives $36,000. The runner up will pocket $18,000. The total prize fund is $250,000.
*The World Pool-Billiard Association(WPA)  will be on hand in Doha throughout the week bringing you all the drama from the 2013 World 9-ball Championship. WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner will be reporting from the Al Arabi Sports Club with daily articles containing insight, interviews and analysis, as well as photos. Ted will also be manning the WPA Facebook page and Twitter feed and responding to fans queries and comments. Fans can also follow all matches via the WPA live scoring platform. 
For updated group brackets follow CLICK HERE
Please visit the WPA Facebook page for the 2013 World 9-ball Championship here

The Marvelous Captain Marlon Manalo set to make comeback; eyes Qatar World 9-ball crown

Marlon Manalo

Veteran campaigner Marlon Manalo has all the opportunities to be the world’s best. 
But for now, he is determined to follow in the foot-steps of Filipino World Champions like Efren "Bata" Reyes (WPA World 9-ball and 8-ball champion), Ronato "Volcano" Alcano (WPA World 9-ball and 8-ball champion), Francisco "Django" Bustamante (WPA World 9-ball champion), Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan (WPA World 9-ball champion), Dennis "Robocop" Orcollo (WPA World 8-ball champion) and Rubilen "Bingkay" Amit (WPA Women's World 10-ball champion).
Manalo will make his return to the pool world after a long hiatus when he competes in this year’s World 9-Ball Championship beginning September 2 in Doha, Qatar.
"The World 9-ball tournament in Qatar will be a good test for me, that's why I prepared well for it," said Manalo, who is also known in pool circuit as "The Marvelous Captain."
“I still believe I can become a world champion,” added Manalo, a many-time winner in the US Pool Circuit and runner-up to Reyes in 2004 World 8-Ball Championship.
"If we're lucky enough in the World Pool Championship in United Arab Emirates and Kaoshiung, Taiwan, I'll win at least one title for us," added the Jose Rizal University (JRU) AB Economics graduate.
The affable cue artist and chairman of Barangay Malamig in Mandaluyong City captivated the billiard circuit by clustering victories against noted pool sharks Ching-shun Yang of Taiwan and countrymen Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante in the knockout stage of the World Pool Championship in 2004.
The following year, the 2000 Asian Snooker Champion and 2008 National Champion Manalo went all the way to the semifinals of the same event before bowing to eventual champion Chia-ching Wu (Jia-Qing Wu).
Although he’s been away from big competition the past few years, Manalo kept himself in shape by practicing daily in his own pool hall in Talumpung, Mandaluyong and the famous Star Billiards Center in Grace Village, Quezon City, hosted by long-time sports patron Sebastian "Baste" Chua.
He is set to fly to Doha, Qatar on Saturday. 
At this point,  the  Brgy.  Malamig chairman from Mandaluyong City's quest for honor and glory received a needed shot in the arm from his long-time benefactors Mayor Benhur Abalos Jr.,  Rep.  Neptali "Boyet" Gonzales II and Solar Sports head Ronald Tieng.
The 2013 World 9-Ball Championship is sponsored by Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and co-sponsors Simonis (cloth), organized by Qatar Billiards & Snooker Federation (QBSF) and sanctioned by World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) and Asian Pocket Billiard Union (APBU).