9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP:  RP  TOP  GUNS  VS  THE REST  OF THE WORLD
 
MANILA, June 16, 2005 
(STAR) Efren "Bata" Reyes, Francisco "Django" Bustamante and Alex Pagulayan banner a crack RP squad out to foil the bid of an equally-talented band of foreign cue artists in the Philippine International Open 9-Ball Championship which gets underway June 25 at the Robinson’s Galleria Trade Hall.

The three top Pinoy masters are seeded in the five-day tournament along with 17 international pool stars, including Johnny Archer of the United States, Chao Fong Pang of Taiwan, Mika Immonen of Finland and Thorsten Hohmann of Germany.

The main draw will be composed of 32 players, 12 coming from the qualifying round set in the first two days of the competitions.

World 9-ball pool quarterfinalist Marlon Manalo and Asian 9-Ball Tour leg winners Gandy Valle and Ronnie Alcano are expected to cast their lots in the qualifier.

"We will show them that the Filipinos are still the best in billiards," said Reyes in a press conference hosted yesterday by the co-organizing Solar Sports and Puyat Sports at the Harbour City Restaurant in Makati City.

"Kahit na ilan pa ‘yung foreigners na darating tiyak na tayo pa rin ang magpapang-abot sa dulo," said the former world No. 1 who, however, has had a series of poor performances in big-time tournaments here.

Also out to spoil the local bets’ bid are world-beaters Satoshi Kawabata and Kunihiko Takahashi of Japan, Yang Ching Shun and Wu Chia Ching of Taiwan, Americans Gabe Own, Rodney Morris, Corey Deuel and Charlie Williams and Europeans Steve Davis, Tony Drago, Marcus Chamat, Thomas Engert and Alex Lely.

Pagulayan, a Filipino based in Canada, renewed his oath of patriotism.

"Bansa natin ang nire-represent ko rito kaya mas inspirado akong manalo," he said. "Actually lahat ng panalo ko dedicated sa Pilipinas kahit na Canada pa ’yung dinadala ko."

The main draw will use an alternate break, double elimination format. The early rounds will be race-to-9 while the semifinals and the finals will be race-to-11 and race-to-15, respectively.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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