Van Boening’s U.S. Open Win Makes Him Top American

Shane Van Boening

Shane Van Boening's victory over 2007 World Pool Champion Ronnie Alcano in the U.S Open 9-Ball Championships has catapulted the 24 year old “South Dakota Kid” to the top of the roster of American players seeing action at this year's World Pool Championship which opens on November 3 at the Araneta Coliseum.

Van Boening was previously tagged by Raya Sports CEO and Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines chairman Yen Makabenta as an emerging talent who would soon replace the likes of fading American stars Earl Strickland, Johnny Archer and Nick Varner. Van Boening's victory in the Predator World 10-Ball Championships coupled with a runner-up finish to Filipino Dennis “The Menace” Orcollo in the event and his two wins over Alcano in the US Open confirmed Makabenta's prediction.

However, Alcano's repeat victory over Ralf Souquet, last year's No. 2 man at the World Pool Championship and the strong showing by the Filipino contingent led by Efren “Bata” Reyes, Francisco “Django” Bustamante, Ramil Gallego, Jose “Amang” Parica, Rodolfo Luat, Orcollo, Lee Van Corteza, Warren Kiamco and Alex Pagulayan served notice that before hometown fans they will be a force to reckon with.

In fact the all twelve Filipino players who have qualified for the World Pool Championship come from all over the country once again proving that pool is popular and entrenched nationwide and the Philippines is indeed the epicenter of pool.

Alcano is from Calamba. Laguna the hometown of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal while Reyes and Luat are two famous sons from Angeles City, Pampanga. Bustamante is from Tarlac while Pagulayan was born in Cabagan, Isabela. Former Asian Games double gold medalist Antonio “Nikoy” Lining is from Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro while “Marvelous” Marlon Manalo is was born and raised in Mandaluyong and young Jeff De Luna in Manila.

Gallego, whose amazing run in the losers bracket after being defeated by Markus Juva in his opening match at the U.S Open was the talk of the pool diehards at the Chesapeake Convention Center, is the lone Visayan and hails from Bacolod City while Davao is represented by National Champion Lee Van Corteza and Surigao by Orcollo.

The ranks of the hometown heroes may well be reinforced through the qualifying tournaments which begin on Saturday with Asian Games gold medalist Antonio “Ga-ga” Gabica of Cebu and Roberto Gomez of Zamboanga City determined to crash into the final roster of 128 players when the tournament begins.

Photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe