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PQQLK9
03-03-2005, 05:25 PM
Reyes favored as Tour starts

Asia’s only premier 9-ball tour kicks off another season of exciting competition in Singapore with defending champion Efren “Bata” Reyes leading a field of 32 top players in the region.

The first leg of the four-city San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour 2005 gets going today at the Suntec Singapore Exhibition Hall 404.

All the action in Singapore will air live on STAR Sports at 5 p.m.Friday, 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday. (Singapore or Hong Kong time).

Reyes, together with fellow Filipino and former world No. 1 Francisco “Django” Bustamante and 2000 world champion Chao Fong-Pang from Chinese-Taipei, heads an impressive cast vying for slots in the World Pool Championships in July.

The Tour is the only ranking tour in Asia for players to qualify to the World Professional Pool Championships.

The top-10 finishers at the end of this year’s Tour will automatically enter the world championships.

Now in its third year, the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour is offering a total prize money purse of US$50,000 at this weekend’s Singapore leg and on each subsequent stop.

The other stops are in Jakarta (April 1 to 3), Kaohsiung (April 29 to May 1) and Manila (June 3 to 5).

Last year saw the 50-year-old Reyes rule the Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and Taipei legs. 2002 Busan Asian Games 9-Ball singles gold medalist Yang Ching Shun of Chinese-Taipei topped the Hong Kong leg while Lee Van Corteza of the Philippines triumphed in Manila.

At this opening leg of 2005, host Singapore is represented by Toh Lian Han, William Ang Boon Lay, Ricky Chew and Bernard Tey Choon Kiat.

Besides Reyes, Bustamante and Chao, other players expected to challenge for the crown are 2004 Taipei leg first runner-up Jeong Young Hwa of Korea and 16-year-old whiz kid Wu Chia-Ching from Chinese-Taipei.

Competition will start at 11:30 today and 3:30 p.m. tomorrow and also 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour is sanctioned by the Asian Pocket Billiard Union and organized by ESPN STAR Sports’ Event Management Group.



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