WORLD POOL: DE LUNA, DJANGO PULL THRU
MANILA, NOVEMBER 8, 2007 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Jeff de Luna emerged triumphant in an all-Filipino battle before Francisco “Django” Bustamante bundled out Spanish David Alcaide as the Philippine campaign got off to a roaring start in the 2007 World Pool Championship knockout stage at the Araneta Coliseum last night.
On a day another American great fell by the wayside, Django easily sustained his fiery run in the elimination round as he overwhelmed Alcaide, 10-1, to reach the Last 32.
De Luna made good his boast of a win over Lee Van Corteza, 10-7, even as the young Juven Bustamante overcame a jittery start to ease out Dennis Orcollo, 10-6, in anoher all-Filipino duel.
Roberto Gomez became the fourth Filipino to make the Final 32 as he matched Django’ s stirring nine-rack victory, pulling it off against the Netherlands‚ Alex Lely.
But the local side suffered defeat in other fronts as Marlon Manalo, Ramil Gallego and Antonio Gabica bowed to foreign rivals.
Manalo was the first to fall, crushed by Polish Radoslaw Babica, 1-10, followed by Gallego in a 5-10 loss to Taiwanese Kuo Po-cheng then Gabica in a 7-10 setback to American young star Shane Van Boening.
One big name moved out of the Round of 64 as three-time winner Earl Strickland of the United States was ambushed by 22-year-old Vietnamese Luong Chi Dung, 8-10.
Taiwanese top gun Wu Chia Ching, the 2005 champion, flirted with disaster but survived against Italian Fabio Petroni, 10-9, even as two other former champs in Ralf Souquet and Mika Immonen led the siege of most of the favorites to the next round, easing out Japanese Naoyuki Oi, 10-8, and Taiwanese Fu Che-wei, 10-5, respectively.
In other early matches, it was Taiwanese Lee Kun-fang over English Raj Hundal, 10-6; Aussie Louis Condo over Singaporean Chan Keng Kwan, 10-2; Dutch Niels Feijen over American Charlie Williams, 10-7, and Serbian Goran Mladenovic over Taiwanese Ko Pin-yi, 10-8.
But it was Django who treated the hometown crowd with a stellar show of shotmaking, displaying the same superb pocketing he dished out in blanking Korean Jeong Young-hwa in his second match in the elims.
Django said he might finally realize his quest for that elusive WPC crown if he sustained his current form.
“It would be great if I get it now. I would be more than satisfied, happy even if I never win again,” said Django in Filipino.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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