Tan & Joven Join Champions Circle at the KIA Motors Korea International Championships

Go Takami and Joven Bustamante

Seoul, Korea- Players from Japan, Philippines, USA, Hong Kong, Guam, and Korea joined the 4th Annual KIA Motors Korea International Championships. This event was originally the first ever international pool event in Korea which has led to the pool boom in Korea spurred on by Dragon Promotions.

The steady improvement by the Korean players was evident once again as early favorites Charlie Williams, Filipino Carlo Biado, and Joven Bustamente all faced early defeats on the winners sides at the hands of the South Koreans. Defending champion Hisashi Kusano (JPN) cruised through to the final 16 re-draw with ease as did Japan's Hiroshi Takenaka and Go Takami. Steadily improved player Lee Chenman of Hong Kong went unscathed through the winner's side as well.

For the first time in Korean billiards history, a woman was allowed to play in the men's pro event. Yu Ram Cha had her stamina tested as she played 4 back to back matches with no breaks. Cha drew Taiwan's #1 woman's ranked player Hsiang Ling Tan and won a tough 7-5 match. Cha then went on to play #12 Japan Ranked Hayato Hijikata. Coincidentally, Cha and Hijikata are the reigning Boys and Girls World 10-Ball Champion respectively. Cha crushed Hijikata 9-4 and then went on to play against Korea's #4 Woman's player Yun Mi Lim and defeated her 7-1 in 20 minutes. Cha next played former #1 Korean Woong Dae Kim and was at 6-6 went Kim eventually broke away and won the match 9-7. An impressive performance by the young 19 year old female.

"This will be great for her game (Cha) but I'm not sure if the men like it. I sense fear in many of them when they have to face her." commented Myung Jin Kim, General Manager of Dragon Promotions Korea.

On Sunday the XTM televised rounds, Tan struggled against Japan's #2 Kawahara 7-5 then cruised controlled through to the final four. She then defeated Bo Ram Cha 6-3 in the semi-finals. The fans were expecting a re-match with Yu Ram and Tan but Korea's Yun Mi Lim came back for a revenge match against Cha. Cha made several errors early on and allowed Lim to gain a sizable lead. Cha had a few opportunities but Lim was able to close out the match at 6-3. The final match was no contest as Tan breezed through Lim 6-3 for the title.

On the men's side, Filipino young aces Biado and Bustamente caught their second wind and were wiping out their opponents. In the last 16, Biado eliminated Taiwan's Po Hsien Lee and then destroyed Takenaka while Joven won a 10-7 battle against Chenman. In the semi-finals, Korea's #5 Won Sik Ham fell to Takami 7-5 in his first TV match. Joven then eliminated Biado 7-3 and put himself in his first televised finals. The finals saw Joven Bustamente, fluid and confident as he controlled Takami from start to end. Takami had no answer for Joven and fell 7-3.

"I want to thank Bugsy Promotions for bringing me here and thanks to all the sponsors of this event." said the mild mannered Joven Bustamente after shaking hands and receiving the trophy from CJ Media Vice President Richard Shim.