MANILA, OCTOBER 13, 2008 (STAR) Francisco “Django” Bustamante and Dennis Orcollo continued to flash fine form as Team Philippines blasted Japan, 9-2, to advance to the semifinal round of the 2008 World Cup of Pool at the Outland Nightclub in Rotterdam, The Netherlands Saturday.

The fancied Filipino pair swept the last six racks after going 3-2 in their race-to-9 duel to complete their rout of Doha Asian Games gold medalist Satoshi Kawabata and Naoyuki Oi and arrange a semis showdown with the United States tandem of former world 10-ball titlist Shane van Boening and Rodney Morris.

The Americans subdued Jasmin Ouschan and Martin Kempter of Austria, 9-7, in the other quarterfinal encounter.

On their way to the semis of the $250,000 event, Bustamante and Orcollo, whose campaign is supported by Senate President Manny Villar’s Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine Sports and the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines, have won 25 racks while losing only seven in an impressive show of pool talent.

The other Final Four match pits defending champion and top seed China against No. 5 England.

The Chinese pair of Fu Jianbo and Li He-wen demolished No. 9 Italy’s Fabio Petroni and Bruno Muratore, 9-2, while the British tandem of reigning world 9-ball champion Darryl Peach and Mark Gray repulsed Ralf Souquet and Thomas Engert of No. 4 Germany, 9-7.

The semifinal round winners will dispute the title in a race-to-11 duel slated late Sunday.

Like in their previous romps over Denmark (8-2) in the opening round and Russia (8-3) in the Last 16, Bustamante and Orcollo needed just a couple of racks to get into the groove.

The Filipinos actually surrendered the lag and the opening rack but won the next three to seize the lead.

After the Japanese took the fifth frame, Bustamante and Orcollo dominated the table to win the next six racks for the victory to surpass the country’s quarterfinals finish last year.

They are now assured of at least $16,000 although the RP duo vowed to go all the way for the top $60,000 purse and reclaim the crown Bustamante and Efren “Bata” Reyes captured in 2006.

The semis duel with the US marks the first time that the Filipinos will meet the Americans in the World Cup since Bustamante and Reyes trounced the pair of Morris and former two-time world 9-ball king Earl Strickland, 13-5, in the finals of event’s inaugural edition in Newport Centre, Wales.

No mismatch, I’m confident – Pacman Monday, October 13, 2008

Manny Pacquiao, giving away so much in height and reach in his Dec. 6 fight with Oscar de la Hoya, has allayed fears of a mismatch in what he described as the biggest fight of his life.

Banking on his speed and power and trainer Freddie Roach’s strategies and techniques, Pacquiao hopes to overcome De la Hoya in their keenly awaited encounter at 147 pounds at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.

“I cannot divulge our plans on how to beat De la Hoya,” said Pacquiao in Filipino in his column posted at his website. “I am really confident of our chances because coach Freddie knows the strengths and weaknesses of De la Hoya.”

One straight week of serious training at the Wild Card gym, Pacquiao said everything’s going fine and the camp has been running smoothly.

“Everyone in my team is inspired and everything is turning out well. Coach Freddie Roach is satistied with the way things are going,” said Pacquiao.

“But there’s still a lot of work to be done since this is not an ordinary fight. Each day will be a challenge because the stakes are high,” said the Filipino icoin. “That’s why I’m inspired to show everybody there will be no mismatch.”

For a change, weight will not be a problem for Pacquiao, who had to shed off extra poundage in his past fights to make the weight limit.

“For the first time, I won’t have to go on a diet to get to 147-lbs. In fact, I’ve been eating more to maintain the weight I need against the taller, heavier De la Hoya,” said Pacquiao.

But the 29-year-old Gen. Santos native stressed he won’t fight at more than 147 so as not to lose his advantage over his older rival – his speed.

“I am very happy that coach Freddie has pointed out to me De la Hoya’s strengths and weaknesses and in just one week, we are already trying to perfect a fighting system that we will use against the legendary fighter,” said Pacquiao.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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