BATA, DJANGO FACE TOM STORM OF SWEDEN AND DUTCH NICK VAN DEN BERG

MANILA, August 27, 2003 (STAR) There will be no room for mistakes for Efren "Bata" Reyes and Francisco "Django" Bustamante as they go up against Tom Storm of Sweden and Dutch Nick Van Den Berg, respectively at the start of the World Pool Masters at the Hotel Zuiderduin in The Netherlands Friday.

But the top Filipino cue masters will not see action until Day 2 of the three-day $62,000 event which gathers 16 of the world’s best players in a race-to-8, winner’s break, straight knockout single elimination format.

Reyes and Bustamante will be coming into the event ready, confident and motivated by victories in the United States in the last two weeks. The former won last week’s Gabriel’s Las Vegas Open and the latter ruled the International Challenge of Champions in Connecticut.

They are set to leave for Holland Wednesday.

Bustamante, the 38-year-old power-breaking ace from Tarlac, has won twice in the event’s first 10 and together with Reyes, the former world 9-ball champion, they are the early favorites to vie for the top $20,000 purse.

The field, however, is teeming with talent.

Ralf Souquet, a four-time winner here, heads the challenge although the German ace is pitted against top Finnish player Mika Immonen in an early clash of the titans in the first day of action.

Other first round matches pit Englishman Steve Davis against Alex Lely, also of The Netherlands, and Taiwanese Hsia Hui-kai against Niclas Bergendorff of Sweden.

The five other opening round pairings will be played in the second day with Dutch Rico Diks going up against reigning world 9-ball champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, American Earl Strickland clashing with Dutch Niels Feijen and Canada-based Filipino Alex Pagulayan colliding with Tony Drago of Malta.

If they play true to form, Reyes and Bustamante are set to cross paths in the semifinal round set Sunday.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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