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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Orcullo seeks 10-Ball crown vs world best


A free-for-all battle is expected as the world’s top cuemasters, including local aces led by Dennis Orcullo, slug it out for the crown in the Philippine Open Pool Championships beginning today at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

Fresh from capturing the world 8-ball title and the Derby City Classic 9-ball crown, Orcullo seeks to add a 10-ball diadem to his trophy room in the 64-man main draw of the $175,000 event.

A slew of tough foreign rivals are out to foil the pool whiz from Bislig, Surigao del Sur, headed by 2009 World 10-ball king Mika Immonen of Finland and 2008 World Ten Ball champ Darren Appleton of Great Britain, who both have won major pool events here.

Out to provide more fierce challenge are former double world champions Ralf Souquet of Germany and Ronnie Alcano of the Philippines, former US Open titlist Shane van Boening of the United States, and defending Phl Open champ Ricky Yang of Malaysia.

It will be really, really hard because all the top players are here,” said Orcullo, one of three gold medalists for Team Phl in last year’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

Immonen, a familiar face to Filipino fans, feels good about his chances for the $30,000 champion’s purse in the double-elims format tournament, a ranking event of the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA).

I’m coming off a win in the Masters 10-ball Championship in Virginia and I feel I’m in top form. I’ll give it a good shot, especially since I have a very good record here (Philippines), having won four major tournaments,” Immonen said.

Souquet, for his part, looks for his breakthrough win in Manila. “I still haven’t won a tournament in the Philippines so yeah it’s on top of my list,” said the German ace who finished runner-up four times in previous outings in the country.

Also carrying the Phl flag are Antonio Lining, Jeff de Luna, Marlon Manalo, Lee Van Corteza Roberto Gomez and Ramil Gallego, among others. Interestingly absent is reigning world 9-ball champ and current world No. 1 Django Bustamante, who backed out at the last minute.

Gillian Go, Geona Christine Gregorio and Reggie Ann Biagcong will represent the Phl against a tough 32-player field led by World 10-Ball champ Jasmin Ouschan of Austria, defending World 9-Ball titlist Fu Xiao-Fang of China, and former Amway World 9-Ball champion and 2006 Asian Games 8-Ball women’s pool champion Lin Yuan Chun of Chinese Taipei.

The Philippine Open is organized and promoted by Raya Sports in cooperation with the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP). TV5 will broadcast the games via a block time slot in IBC-13, 2-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 12-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 2-7 p.m. on Monday.


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