SINGAPORE, AUGUST 25, 2006 (STAR) By Dante Navarro - Marvin Dumandan and Jay Bayron fought back from a disastrous stint in the second round and pooled a three-under par 139 but the Philippines fell short of its title-retention bid and settled for third place in the Singapore Open Amateur Championship here yesterday.

Dumandan, atoning for a disastrous 78 in the second round, recovered his putting touch to go two-under after nine holes but he failed to sustain that charge at the backside of the par-71 Singapore Island Country Club’s Bukit course and settled for a 69.

Bayron, who also fumbled with a 73 Wednesday, appeared headed for another woeful round but made one big run on his homeward trip with birdies in three of the last four holes for a one-under 70.

But that 139 failed to spark the Philippines’ final round charge in the 54-hole team competition as it wound up with a 425 for a share of third place with India (140), five behind New Zealand, which put on a sizzling round of 135, seven-under, to rally from fifth to first with a 420.

Sri Lanka snatched second place with a 423 after a 139 as two-day leader Singapore bombed out with a 148 and a 428 and tumbled down to sixth. Thailand, second at the start of the round, also limped home with a 141 and finished fifth with 426.

Bayron, meanwhile, emerged as the best-placed Filipino in the 72-hole individual competition as the spearhead of the eight-player RP team, sponsored by the International Container Terminal Services, Inc., assembled a 211 aggregate to remain five strokes behind Chiragh Kumar of India (70-206) heading into the final 18 holes of the tournament, which serves as part of the Filipinos’ buildup for the World Amateurs and the Asian Games.

Five of the eight members of the ICTSI squad, whose stint here is sanctioned by the National Golf Association of the Phils., made it to the final round with Michael Bibat, the 2004 champion, sharing 12th place with Dumandan with 214s and Gene Bondoc finally shooting a 2-under 69 to tie Anthony Fernando, carding a 74, at 26th place with 218s.

Failing to make the cut pegged at 219 were Miko Alejandro (76-227), Eugene Bunyi (76-230) and Dante Becierra (80-237).

Other Filipinos advancing to the final round of individual competition were Ferdinand Aunzo and former national champion Jun Bernis, who both had 216s after 69 and 71, respectively.

Django, Bata battle Malaysians next The Philippine Star 08/25/2006

Filipino pool sensations Efren "Bata" Reyes and Francisco "Django" Bustamante, who made short work of their Malta rivals in the first round, are expected to have another easy outing against another lowly-regarded opponent in Malaysia in Round 2 of the inaugural World Cup of Pool in Newport, Wales.

The top-seeded Reyes-Bustamante pair will be up against Malaysians Ibrahim Amir and Patrick Ooi Fook Yuen who openly admit their admiration of the two top Filipino players. The two teams are to clash late Thursday night.

Reyes and Bustamante started their campaign in the event offering a top prize of $60,000 with a 9-0 demolition of Malta’s tandem of Tony Drago and Alex Borg just in 50 minutes.

Amir and Yuen made the second round by topping Qatar’s Bashar Hussain and Fahad Mohammadi, 9-3.

The Malaysians are not totally patsies since they’re ranked No. 16 in the 32-nation field.

Yuen, 33, was a 9-ball gold medallist in the 1997 Southeast Asian Games while Amir, 44, was the 2004 Thailand Open 9-ball champion.

But Drago tipped the Philippines to go on and win the tournament. "These guys are so good and we have just played two of the greatest players of all time," said Drago in an internet report.

"We came here to try and win and we aren’t disappointed to lose because I believe they’re the best team here but nobody wants to lose 9-0," Drago said.

Malta won the lag but Borg, a professional snooker player, showed his lack of pool experience as he scratched after hitting the blue two which had been partially hidden by the orange five. Philippines needed no second invitation and quickly moved into a 1-0 lead and it became evident they would punish any mistakes from Drago and Borg.

Reyes and Bustamante aren’t taking the Malaysians lightly since even some of the best teams in the $250,000 meet failed to make it past first round.

A pair of upsets marred the tournament just before the Round 16 begins as Hong Kong and Spain posted stunning victories at the expense of their seeded rivals.

Spain’s David Alcaide and Rafael Guzman booted out the England A pair of Raj Hundal and Ronnie O’Sullivan — seeded 13th — in a thriller, 9-8, while the Hong Kong tandem of Lee Chenman and Kong Man-ho ousted sixth seed Sweden, composed of Marcus Chamat and Tom Storn, in a similar stirring victory, 9-8.

Their inspiring wins put them in a direct collision with two other top seeded teams in the second round, with Spain meeting fourth ranked Germany (Thomas Engert and Oliver Ortmann) and Hong Kong clashing with no. 11 Russia.

Just like the opening round, the Round of 16 and Round of 8 are race-to-9 matches, while the semis is a race-to-11 and the championship a race-to-13.

Others which clinched a seat in the second round are Czech Republic, Canada, fifth seeded Taiwan, Japan, no. 3 USA with Earl ‘The Pearl’ Strickland and Rodney Morris on board, and England B.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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