MANILA, OCTOBER 24, 2008 (STAR) Former world No.1 Francisco “Django” Bustamante trounced newly crowned World 10-Ball champion Darren Appleton, 11-6, to stretch his run to four matches in the 33rd Annual US Open 9-Ball Championship at the Chesapeake Convention Center in Chesapeake, Virginia yesterday.

Bustamante set up a fifth round encounter with a little-known Oscar Dominguez, boosting his chance to become the third Filipino to win the event after fellow Puyat Sports stalwarts Efren “Bata” Reyes (1994) and Alex Pagulayan (2005).

Also staying in the winners’ bracket after four days of competition in the $250,000 tournament were Ronnie Alcano, Lee Van Corteza and Jose “Amang” Parica.

Alcano, the lone entry of Bugsy Promotions of businessman Perry Mariano, outwitted Canadian Tyler Edey, 11-8, while Corteza of Jonathan Sy’s Negros Billiards Stable slipped past American Shannon Daulton, 11-9.

But one of them will slide to the one-loss side as they face each other in the next round.

Parica, on the other hand, outlasted Marcus Chamat of Sweden, 11-9, to advance to the next round against defending champion Shane Van Boening, who defeated compatriot Charlie Williams, 11-6.

Three other Filipinos were still in contention as of press time.

Warren Kiamco, Rodolfo Luat and Ramil Gallego were trying to stay in the hunt for the prestigious title and the $40,000 top purse through the losers’ bracket.

The undefeated players going to the fifth stage are former world champions Mika Immonen, Thorsten Hohmann and Johnny Archer, Rodney Morris, Adam Smith, Shawn Putnam, Brandon Shuff, Raj Hundal, and Petri Makkonen.

Roach hits Manny pal in LA gym commotion Friday, October 24, 2008

A commotion broke out at the Wild Card Gym the other day when one of Manny Pacquiao’s friends in Los Angeles was allegedly thrown out of the Hollywood sweatshop.

Greg Asuncion, in an e-mail forwarded to the media, claimed that trainer Freddie Roach hit him from behind after previously asking him to leave the premises.

Asuncion, known within Team Pacquiao as “The Sheriff” because he works at the LA County Sheriff’s Office, is planning to file charges against the two-time Trainer of the Year.

However, sports analyst Ronnie Nathanielz, who had talked to Asuncion on the phone after the incident, said he (Asuncion) agreed not to “rock the boat” as Pacquiao moved closer to his fight with Oscar dela Hoya.

“I told him if an apology would do and he said ‘yes,’” said Nathanielz.

But sources said Roach merely pulled Asuncion out of the dressing room, grabbing him by his jacket, as Pacquiao prepared himself for Wednesday’s two-hour workout.

They said Asuncion “was acting up” when he fainted.

Asuncion claimed otherwise.

“Suddenly Freddy hit me from the back of my neck… so powerful that I fell on my knees. He told me to get hell out of the gym and I said okay,” said Asuncion in his e-mail.

“On my way to the door I fell again because I felt dizzy. Slowly I got up again and proceed to go outside and I can hear his personnel yelling at me that I’m acting,” he said.

Asuncion said he called 911 for help and the paramedics and police arrived at the gym. He was put on a stretcher, and given a neck brace before being taken to the hospital.

Roach could not be contacted for comment. The source, however, said Pacquiao’s workout went on as scheduled, and by the time the police came, Pacquiao and Roach were busy up in the ring.

The source said the police didn’t even bother to disrupt the training, but had to ask Pacquiao’s conditioning coach Alex Ariza a few questions because he saw what actually happened.

Roach wanted Asuncion to step out of the gym because there were too many people inside and wanted to give Pacquiao more space as he trained.

Asuncion said he arrived at the gym with Pacquiao and that they were on board the boxer’s two-door Mercedes. As he sat inside the gym, he was told by security enforcer Rob Peters to leave. – Abac Cordero

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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