Valle Eliminates Gomez in Magnificent 7

Gandy Valle

Defending champion Gandy Valle outlasted Roberto Gomez, 13-11, for his second straight win after an opening match loss, to keep his bid for back-to-back title romps alive in the Magnificent 7 Winner-Take-All 9-Ball Invitational second qualifier yesterday at the Bravio Sports and Resto Lounge in Mandaue City.

Valle, a former Asian Games gold medalist and mainstay of the star-studded Bugsy Promotions of businessman Perry Mariano, split the first 22 racks with Gomez before claiming the next two, including a run out of the 24th frame, to improve his record to 2-1 halfway through this three-day tournament organized by Hilton Professional Cues and Bravio Sports and Resto Lounge and supported by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines with Fundador, Cebu Rajah Hotel, Sunstar, and Monster Radio BT105 as sponsors.

"I am happy I still have the chance to repeat. I just hope I can win all my remaining matches to make it to finals," said Valle, who lost his first match to former world champion Alex Pagulayan, 13-6, before bouncing back to beat JJ Savage, 13-9.

Pagulayan won all his opening day matches including wins over Gomez (13-11), Valle and Mike Hilton (13-2) to lead the field vying for the P300,000 purse and a spot in the grandfinals in December.

He was followed by Joven Bustamante, who won his first two matches Thursday against Marvin Gentapa, 13-4, and Gomez, 13-6.

That put Valle in third, followed by Gentapa and Savage, who both hold 1-1 records. Gentapa recovered from his loss to Bustamante by subduing Hilton 13-10, while Savage also won over Hilton 13-11.

Hilton and Gomez were both winless after three matches and are already out of contention.

The tournament is the second of a series of winner-take-all competitions leading up to the grand finals slated in December.

It also serves as the preview to the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup Cebu Leg, the biggest pool tournament to be held in the Queen City of the South, on June 20 to 22.