FIRST-TIMER  JOVEN  BUSTAMANTE  JOINS  GALAXY  OF  POOL  STARS

MANILA, NOVEMBER 9, 2007
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Joven Bustamante came through with the biggest shots and the biggest win of his young career last night.

Bustamante, a World Pool Championship first-timer, bucked tremendous odds as he stunned Taiwanese premier star Wu Chia Ching, 10-8, to reach the 2007 WPC Final 16 at the Araneta Coliseum.

“The breaks just went my way,” Bustamante said moments after completing his king-size upset of the 2005 WPC ruler, giving the home front some solace following bitter defeats Filipino aces suffered in late matches Wednesday night.

“I was feeling so much pressure. The ouster of our big guns (Wednesday) made me more wary. Playing on the TV table for the first time added to the pressure,” Bustamante added.

But the 28-year-old Quezon City resident proved up to the challenge, shutting the door on Wu and making the Taiwanese the sixth former champion to be ousted in the nine-day event.

Former Filipino world titlists Efren “Bata” Reyes and Ronnie Alcano got the boot in the wee hours Wednesday.

Alex Pagulayan, the other former Filipino world ruler, picked up from where Bustamante left off, drubbing Australian Louis Condo, 10-2, to also advance.

But Pagulayan, the 2004 champ, may find himself up against Francisco “Django” Bustamante in the Round of 16.

“We played many times before and our records are pretty even. If he beats me, it’s okay with me because he’s my buddy. I’d like to play him in the finals but there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Pagulayan.

The young Bustamante underscored his fiery form as he eased out Wu, less than 24 hours after toppling Doha Asian Games gold medalist Dennis Orcollo.

Taiwanese sportswriters said Wu was not disappointed with the loss but took issue with the Taiwan federation for forcing him to play in the Asian Indoor Championships in Macau before flying to Manila.

“Manila was already in my mind when I was in Macau. We lost there and it gave me little time to regain my confidence for the world pool,” said Wu through a Taiwanese reporter

“I had a difficult time against Orcollo and Wu. They’re among the big names here,” said Bustamante.

Bustamante won the lag and raced to a 4-0 lead but gave up the table with an errant shot, allowing Wu to surge ahead at 7-6.

A scratch by Wu on the break on the 14th rack enabled Bustamante to get back on the table and go to the hill at 9-7. But failing to finish the match on the next rack, Bustamante had to wait for another Wu mistake to take the win.

Precise was Bustamante as he sank the blue 2-ball into the corner to ignite a clean-up that gave the Filipino a seat in the next round.

Hungary’s Vilmos Foldes and Taiwan’s Kuo Po-cheng surprised reigning US Open champion Shane Van Boening, 10-8, and 1995 WPC titlist Oliver Ortmann, 10-7, respectively, while Japanese Satoshi Kawabata topped Vietnamese Luong Chi Dung, 10-3, and Finnish Mika Immonen stamped his class over Malta’s Tony Drago, 10-6, to book their own seats in the Last 16.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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