(STAR) Reigning world 9-ball champion Ronnie Alcano remained on course for another world championship crown when he barged into the semifinal round of the World 8-ball Championship with a 10-4 victory over compatriot Elvis Calasang yesterday at Al Bashton Hall in Fujairah in UAE.

Alcano, who upended German ace Ralf Souquet to bag the world 9-ball crown in Manila last year, took three of the first four racks then thwarted Calasang’s fightback with a steady game en route to the victory, putting the 34-year-old soft-spoken Calamba native within two wins from annexing the other world crown.

But Alcano will have his hands full against semifinal round opponent Niels Feijen of the Netherlands.

Feijen defeated compatriot Nick Van Den Berg in an all-Dutch quarterfinal duel, 10-2.

The 34-year-old Alcano and Feijen dispute the first finals berth later in the day.

Calasang, unfancied until he bundled out Taiwanese veteran campaigner Hsia Hui-kai, 10-6, in the second round of the knockout stage, actually closed within one rack after winning the fifth, 2-3.

But Alcano, with his soft-break coming to fore, quickly stopped Calasang on his track and won the next two, yielded the next, but won the next four to pull away, 9-3.

Calasang tried to hang on by taking the next rack but Alcano scored on a clean-up to wrap up the encounter.

Alcano earlier beat former world 9-ball champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, 10-3, in the first round of the knockout phase then blasted Naif Al Jeweni of Saudi, 10-3, in the Last 16 to advance to the quarterfinal round.

Calansang, on the other hand, nipped fellow OFW Joybe Vicente, 10-9, in the Last 32 then surprised Hsia to arrange a quarterfinal showdown with Alcano.

Still playing at presstime are Dennis Orcollo and Joven Bustamante with the former taking on Swede ace Marcus Chamat and the latter up against the talented Thomas Engert of Germany, who booted out former world No. 1 Francisco "Django" Bustamante, 10-9, Tuesday.

Chamat trounced IPT world 8-ball champion Efren "Bata" Reyes, 10-4, in the Last 16.

On his way to the quarters, Orcollo prevailed over Austrian Bun Nunan, 10-3, then held off Souquet, 10-8, while Joven Bustamante whipped Iranian Farhad Shaverdi, 10-6, and Goran Mladenovic, 10-7, to advance.

The other Filipino player who fell by the wayside was Lee Van Corteza, who bowed to Van Den Berg, 7-10, in the first round.

Pacman revs up for April match By Abac Cordero The Philippine Star 03/08/2007

How serious is Manny Pacquiao in his training?

Well, for those entertaining some doubts, he’s dead serious.

Over the last three weeks, the 28-year-old boxer has been hitting the road, pounding the mitts and sweating it out in an oven-hot gym in Gen. Santos City.

Pacquiao has logged a dozen rounds of sparring, which he does three times a week. But his daily regimen consists of a 30-minute run in the morning and a two-hour gym work in the afternoon.

He does a thousand crunches and sit-ups per day.

Pacquiao has even worked out one Sunday, which is normally his rest day. He has decided to train in his hometown, instead of Manila where there are just too many distractions.

"Ang init sa gym (It’s too hot in the gym)," said Pacquiao over the phone Tuesday evening, at around 8 o’clock, as he prepared to call it a day in his multi-million-peso mansion.

"Pero kailangan mag-focus (But you need to focus)," added Pacquiao, scheduled to face undefeated Mexican Jorge Solis at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on April 14.

Over the last week, Pacquiao skipped flying to Manila for a string of events he would have normally gone to – an election-related gathering, a big-time derby and the birthday party of a dear friend.

By this time, as in his previous fights, Pacquiao should be in Los Angeles, training at the well-equipped Wild Card Gym owned by his long-time trainer Freddie Roach.

But since Roach is out in Puerto Rico training Oscar dela Hoya for his May 5 bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr., Pacquiao has chosen to stay home and train under Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri, his life-long buddies.

Pacquiao plans to leave for Los Angeles on March 14 or exactly one month before the fight, his first since he demolished Erik Morales at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas last Nov. 18.

The other day, Pacquiao tipped the scales at 137 pounds, just seven pounds heavier than the limit of 130 for his coming fight, scheduled for 12 rounds.

There seems to be no problem with his weight. And as long as he keeps his focus in training, there shouldn’t be any problem either come fight time.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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