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03-31-2005, 12:49 PM
Bata, Django lead RP charge in Indon 9-ball

The Philippine Star 04/01/2005

The Philippines tries to re-stamp its class in the San Miguel Asian 9-ball Tour with first leg champion Gandy Valle joining fancied Efren "Bata" Reyes and Francisco "Django" Bustamante and 29 of the region’s top cue masters in the second leg of the circuit which unfolds today at the Hanggar Billiard & Recreation Center in Indonesia.

The 28-year-old Valle surprised the big guns in the kickoff leg of the series in Singapore as he toppled 16-year-old pool prodigy Wu Chia-Ching of Chinese Taipei in the finals, 11-9, to bag the top $10,000 purse.

Still, Reyes and Bustamante are the men to watch in the Indonesia leg with the former coming off a victory in the recent Japan Open and the latter expected to come out strong in a bid to atone for his mediocre showing the first time out.

This marks the first time that Asia’s only premier 9-ball tour makes an appearance in Indonesia. All the action from Jakarta will be telecast "live" on STAR Sports at 5 p.m. today, at 11 a.m. tomorrow and at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Joining Valle, Reyes and Bustamante are Lee Vann Corteza and tour newcomer Roberto Gomez Jr.

Filipinos have so far dominated the circuit, winning six of the eight legs since the Tour began in 2003. The 50-year old Reyes has topped four stagings while Corteza and Valle have each claimed one title.

A total money purse of $50,000 is up for grabs at this weekend’s Jakarta leg and on each subsequent stop of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour in Kaohsiung (April 29 — May 1) and Manila (June 3-5).

The San Miguel Asian 9 Ball Tour, organized by ESPN STAR Sports, 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 Professional Pool Championships in Taiwan in July.

Aside from Wu, former world pool champion Chao Fong-Pang and Yang Ching-Shun from Chinese Taipei are expected challenge the Filipinos for the crown.

For more information on the Tour, please check out www.asian9-balltour.com. (http://www.asian9-balltour.com.) For the latest schedules and program information on ESPN STAR Sports, catch us on the net at www.espnstar.com. (http://www.espnstar.com.)

The San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour is sanctioned by the Asian Pocket Billiard Union and organized by ESPN STAR Sports’ Event Management Group (EMG) in association with the All Indonesian Billiards Association. San Miguel Beer is the title sponsor for the Tour.

Iwan Simonis and Aramith supply the official tablecloth and official balls respectively. Brunswick Metro is the official pool table, Mandarin Oriental Jakarta is the official hotel and Hanggar Billiard & Recreation Center is the official venue. STAR Sports is the official broadcaster. The 2005 Tour will go to Singapore, Jakarta, Kaohsiung and Manila. Besides the total prize money of US$200,000, the top 10 players on the Tour Order of Merit every year will directly qualify into the World Professional Pool Championships.

For more on-site information, please contact: Cheryl Sim, ESPN STAR Sports Tel : (65) 9688-1318 or email: sim@espnstar.com Fauziah Ahmad, ESPN STAR Sports Tel: (65) 9247-4424 or email: fauziah@espnstar.com
web page (http://www.philstar.com/philstar/News200504011602.htm)