Tolentino, Didal Take Seats in Subic Open Final Four

Olongapo City -- Mario Tolentino of the Philippines beat top seed Pin Yi Ko of Chinese Taipei by the score of 9-6 to book a seat in the Final Four of the Subic-Olongapo Open Pool Championship at the Olongapo City Convention Center.

In the other quarterfinal match of players in the winners' bracket, Leonardo Didal edged Arnel Bautista 9-7 to take also a spot in the semifinals.

Ko was heavily favored against Tolentino in their match because of his domination of opponents in three earlier matches and his rapid rise from the junior ranks in international competition.

Against the seasoned Tolentino, however, Ko found his match. The Filipino, who also coaches the Philippine women's team, raced to a 3-1 lead with his precision potting and unerring position play. He continued to maintain the lead by beating every attempt of Ko to come back and string games together.

With the match tightening at 7-5, the Filipino took the crucial 13th rack with an impressive runout following a miss by Ko.

The Taiwanese answered by taking the 14th rack to bring the score to 8-6. But Tolentino's commanding position on the hill proved too much to overcome.

In the 15th rack, Ko left the Filipino a moderately open table to navigate. Tolentino calmly sank ball after ball, making the chore easy with his position play, and capped the effort with an easy shot on the 10-ball.

The Didal-Bautista match was a much tighter battle from start to finish, with the lead changing hands at various points. Didal raced to a 3-1 lead but Bautista answered back and knotted the score.

With the match tied at 6-6, Bautista took the lead by running out the table after a safety battle. Didal answered back by taking the next two racks, also after a cat-and-mouse battle of safeties.

In the 16th rack, Bautista made a pushout following a dry break by Didal. The shot on offer required a jump shot, and Didal opted to let his opponent shoot. Bautista made a legal shot on the 1-ball  but failed to pocket it, leaving his opponent a difficult but makeable runout.

From there, Didal executed with precision with fine shotmaking and position play. He played good position on the 10-ball to take the match and his seat in the Final Four.

Tolentino and Didal now await the winners of the quarterfinal matches in the losers' bracket for the crossover semifinals of the competition.

Players Still in the Hunt

Four players remain in the hunt for the last two slots in the semifinals of the Subic-Olongapo Open Pool Championship. They are Pin Yi Ko and Che Wei Fu of Chinese Taipei, and Elvis Calasang and Arnel Bautista of the Philippines.

Ko was relegated to the losers' bracket after losing to Mario Tolentino in the winners' bracket. He will face Calasang today for a seat in the semifinals.

Calasang made it to the quarterfinal match with two impressive wins in Day Two action. He took down second-seed Jericho Banares in a battle that went down the wire. And then he beat Kenji Taguchi 9-3.

Denied a seat in the Final Four by compatriot Leonardo Didal, Arnel Bautista will try to book a seat against Fu Che Wei in the other quarterfinal match scheduled today.

Fu earned one more chance to make it to the semis by beating Ricky Yang of Indonesia, 9-3, and Allan Cuartero, 9-5. Smarting from his defeat in the hands of Didal, Fu played like a man on a mission against Yang and Cuartero.

In the match against Yang, he never gave the Indon a chance at the table as he took six racks in a row to lead 6-1 and cruised from there.

Day Three action starts at 12 noon today.