WORLD  POOL:  ALL  BUT ONE IN 12 PINOY BETS MADE IT TO PROPER

TAIPEI, July 15, 2004
 
(STAR)
 —  Dennis Orcullo, the last qualifier among the big bunch of Filipinos, was the first RP bet to advance to the Last 32 of the World Pool Championship at Taipei World Trade Center here Wednesday.

Sustaining his romp in the grueling elims phase of the $350,000 event, Orcullo thumped American Danny Harriman, 9-3, to arrange a clash with either Taiwan’s Wu Chia-Ching or Russian Konstantin Stephanov who were playing at presstime.

In a sudden twist of fate, all but one of the 12 Pinoy bets made it to the tournament proper with Orcullo emerging the top Filipino qualifier at seventh and Ramil Gallego, given up for dead, rising up with back-to-back victories late Tuesday night and catching the 62nd berth.

The 25-year-old Orcullo’s one-sided victory came on the heels of compatriot Antonio Gabica’s 4-9 loss to Japan’s Satoshi Kawabata.

Former world champion Efren "Bata" Reyes and world No. 1 Francisco "Django" Bustamante, the Philippines’ top bets in this gathering of the best cue artists in the world, were still playing at presstime with the former tangling with Dutch Alex Lely and the latter clashing with American Dan Basavich.

Other RP masters competing are Rodolfo Luat, Marlon Manalo, Antonio Lining, Lee Van Corteza, Gandy Valle, Warren Kiamco and Gallego.

The Philippines and the hosts have the most number of entries in the Last 64 with 11 each although most of the Filipinos, including Reyes and Bustamante, are bunched in the lower bracket and are expected to knock each other out right in the Last 32 and 16 stages.

With Gabica out of the fold, only Luat is left alone to fight it out in the talent-laden upper bracket headed by elims topnotcher and former world champion Chao Fong-pang and defending champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany.

Matches are aired "live" on STAR Sports beginning at 5 p.m. with the semifinals to be telecast at 8:30 p.m. on July 17 and the finals slated July 18 starting at 9 p.m. — Dante Navarro


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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