Thrills and Upsets Mark Subic Open Day One

Jericho Banares

Olongapo City – Thrills and surprises marked the first day of competition in the Subic-Olongapo Open Pool Championship as some seeded players met expectations, others struggled, and the upset ax took down some prominent names in international pool.

Top seed Pin Yi Ko of Chinese Taipei lived up to expectations by breezing through his early matches, beating Filipino Alex Nobleza 9-2 and Indonesian Muhammad Bewi 9-5.

In contrast, second-seed Jericho Banares had to battle his way in the losers' bracket in order to survive. After losing to compatriot Victor Arpilleda (6-9), Banares lived for another day by beating Junbert Ogang in a thriller that went down the wire.

Luck was not so kind, however, to three other seeded players in the tournament: Jeffrey De Luna and Demosthenes Pulpul of the Philippines, and Amir Ibrahim of Malaysia. They all exited the tournament after absorbing two losses each.

Players in Winners Bracket

Joining Ko in the winners' bracket  are five Filipinos, one Japanese and another Taiwanese.

The five unscathed Filipinos are Mario Tolentino, Victor Arpilleda, Leonardo Didal, Elvis Calasang and Arnel Bautista. The lone Japanese contender is Kenji Taguchi, while the other Taiwanese is third-seed Che Wei Fu.

Calasang showed what the foreign players should expect from the Filipino players. He outclassed Timo Makela of Norway 9-4 in the first round, and then beat highly touted Muhammad Zulfikri of Indonesia 9-5.

Arpilleda, who campaigns most of the year in Indonesia, beat second-seed Jericho Banares 9-5 in an impressive display of shotmaking and position play. The win complemented a first-round victory over Rudi Susanto of Indonesia (9-6).

Bautista handily defeated Taiwanese CHui-chan Lu 9-5, to hand Chinese Taipei its major setback of the day. He earlier beat compatriot Edgar Acaba 9-5.

In a match against eighth-seed Allan Cuartero, Taguchi displayed good form and fine shotmaking in winning 9-4. In the first round, he bested Malaysian Johari bin Abdullah 9-6.

Players in Losers' Bracket

In the losers' bracket, other seeded players still in the hunt are Ricky Yang of Indonesia and Allan Cuartero, a Filipino expat based in Kuwait.

Yang was impressive coming back from a first-round defeat. After falling to Ericson Navarette 3-9, he outclassed Ramil Gadjala and Demosthenes Pulpul by similar scores of 9-2.

Cuartero took his place in the losers' bracket by beating compatriots Boots Augusto 9-5 and Edgar Acaba 9-4. He lost to Kenji Taguchi 4-9.

The other players still in contention via the losers' bracket are: Indonesians Rudi Susanto and Siauw Wieto, and Filipinos Boots Augusto, Florencio Banar and Daniel de la Rosa.

Hometown Bets Doing Well

Hometown bet Banar recorded the biggest upset on the first day of competition when he defeated fourth-seed De Luna 9-6 to boot him out of the tournament on opening day.

Not to be outdone, de la Rosa also did honor for the host city and Zambales province by recording a 2-1 card going into the second day of matches.

The two players are giving home fans something to cheer about in this first-ever Subic-Olongapo Open Pool Championship.

Besides beating de Luna, Banar also defeated compatriot Luis Saberdo in a hill-hill match. (He happens also to be the president of the Olongapo City Billiards Association.)

De la Rosa fashioned out victories against Elmer Kalaquian (9-7) and Ericson Navarette (9-4), after dropping his first match against Demosthenes Pulpul (8-9).