Team World Draws First Blood at QC Challenge

Chia-Ching Wu

QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES – Team World beat Team Quezon City-Philippines, 7-4, in the opening team event  to draw the first blood in the Q.C. Invasion: Quezon City-Philippines vs the World Grand VILLARDS Showdown, which cued off yesterday before a mammoth crown at the Trinoma Mall here.

With three former world champions and the reigning World Cup of Pool titleholder drawn for the opening four-man team event, the visiting forces romped off to a strong start and then held-off the home team's comeback tries to take the first point in this race-to-9 duel presented by Senator Manny Villar's Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine Sport and the Quezon City government led by Mayor Sonny Belmonte and City Council Majority Floor Leader Ariel Inton.

The quartet of Mika Immonen, Thorsten Hohmann, Wu Chia-ching and Rodney Morris won the lag, ran out the opening rack and then stole the second frame for a 2-0 lead over the team of Efren “Bata” Reyes, Dennis Orcollo, Roberto Gomez and Lee Van Corteza.

“We're able to get our acts together early and that I think was the key to our victory,” said Morris, the Team World's skipper in this three-day event sponsored by Camella Communities and also supported by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) with Solar Sports, RPN-9, the Philippine Star and BusinessMirror as media partners.

Morris scratched on his shot of the black-8 in the third rack – the first of the foreigners' only three mistakes in the match – and Reyes pocketed the money-ball to give the Filipinos their first point.

They then ran out the fourth rack to even the match at 2-all.

But with the alternate-break being applied, Team World quickly quashed the Team QC-RP momentum and pulled it back to their side to claim the next four rack for a 6-2 advantage.

The Filipinos took the next two frames, and got into the table on the 11th rack, but its difficult layout forced them to surrender it back to the visitors, who successfully cleaned it up for the win..

Three more matches were slated late yesterday with Ronnie Alcano pitted against Yang Ching-shun of Chinese-Taipei in a singles match; Francisco “Django” Bustamante and Warren Kiamco paired to take on Raj Hundal of India and Charlie Williams of the United States in doubles encounter; and Alex Pagulayan against Fu Jianbo of China in another singles matches.

The first team to accumulate nine points will win the showdown and pocket the $40,000 top purse.

A simple opening ceremony led by Senator Manny Villar, Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte and Quezon City Council Majority Floor Leader Ariel Inton ushered the competition.

“We are planning to make this a yearly event as this is now one of our major efforts to promote Quezon City as a premier sports-tourism hub in the country,” said Inton.