Wu rules Puerto Princesa Ten Ball bash

Chia-Ching Wu

PUERTO PRINCESA –  Count the Ten Ball championship to the growing list of crown collections of Taiwanese big shot Chia-Ching Wu.

For youthful Filipino star Jericho Banares, his time has to wait – for the moment.

The former World Pool 9-Ball and World 8-Ball titlist used his precise pocketing to engineer yet another remarkable comeback to fashion out a thrilling 11-9 triumph and rule the Puerto Princesa Mayor's Cup, second leg of the Philippine Pool Tour here at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum late Sunday night.

It was an uphill battle for the two young guns of billiards.

As expected, Wu had another slow start, similar to his previous tough two matches against Marlon Manalo in the last game of the eliminations and Ralf Souquet in the semis. But the 19-year-old sensation, who dominated the international billiards scene in 2005, completed another strong finish en route to nipping the reigning national junior champion.

"I had another tough time. For three straight games I had a slow start. I was fortunate at the very slim opportunity given to me and made the most out of it," said Wu, thru his interpreter Hans Lu, owner of Pool Fusion Billiards Hall in Manila.

Wu found himself trailing again in the finals. He was down, 2-6, then took the next two racks.

Banares got his turn in the 11th rack to take a 7-4 lead. From there, Wu mostly kept the up-and-coming Filipino star in his seat.

A huge six-rack run by Wu behind his solid breaking and precise pocketing had the Taiwanese taking full control of the match. The run reminded aficionados of his WPC victory in Kaoshiung, when he took five straight racks to claim the world championship.  

But Banares pounced on an error by Wu in the 18th rack to get back to contention. He ran out the table and then took the 19th rack as well.

Then came the most pivotal rack in the 20th with Banares getting a chance to salvage an equalizer and a win could give him the momentum he needed for the final blow. Banares got no shot at the blue 2 despite getting two balls on his break. Wu got a little opening after Banares flubbed a safety play, but the table layout was difficult to run out. Instead he laid a tough safety on his opponent that looked too tough to escape from.

Banares' made a spectacular bank shot on the green 6 that went in the side pocket, but that shot was nullified after he scratched the cue ball.

That was a backbreaker and Wu took care of business and finished the job.

With the victory, Wu took the first prize money of $10,000 and  a guaranteed seat in the inaugural World Ten Ball Championship in Manila in September.

Banares received $4,000 for finishing runner-up. Losing semifinalists Souquet and Manalo got $2,000.