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04-01-2005, 08:52 PM
Bustamante, Reyes, Valle prevail

By Jimbo Gulle, Sports editor

JAKARTA: When they got to this Indonesian capital a day before, Francisco “Django” Bustamante and Gandy Valle were joking and laughing at each other.

On Friday, they were forced to put their game faces on.

The Filipino cue masters got off to strong starts and disposed of their respective rivals, but had the unfortunate task of facing each other in the second round of the second leg of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour hosted by this city for the first time.

Like his compatriots, top seed Efren “Bata” Reyes drew a difficult duel, but two golden breaks and four errors by Japan’s Kunihiko Takahashi allowed “The Magician” to escape with a 9-8 triumph in a matchup of former world champions.

Bustamante, seeded second, raced to a 3-1 lead and eliminated Chu Hung-Ming of Chinese-Taipei, 9-5, while the unseeded Valle was never threatened in a 9-2 romp past Hong Kong’s Au Siu-Wai at the Hanggar Billiard and Recreation Center here.

But owing to the quirks of the draw held late Thursday, Django had the unwelcome chore of facing Valle—winner of the first leg in Singapore in the event organized by ESPN Star Sports—after their respective first-round victories.

“That’s how the draw is,” said Bustamante, who defeated Valle 11-4 in the semifinals on the way to the title in the recent All-Filipino Open. “It’s going to be difficult since you’re playing a Filipino, but whoever gets the breaks will win.”

Another victim of the blind draw was Lee Vann Corteza, who had the misfortune of facing two-leg winner Yang Chin-Shun in the same quarter of the 32-man bracket as Bustamante and Valle.

He became the first Filipino to bow out of the $50,000 event bankrolled by San Miguel Beer.

Failing to protect a 5-0 lead, Corteza eventually lost, 9-6, to the Taiwanese master, the only non-Filipino pool player to win a stop in three years of the only qualifying tournament in Asia for the World Pool Championships in July.

Winner of the Tour’s Manila leg last year, Corteza is going home with just $750 (about P40,500)—far less than the $10,000 offered to the champion of the second leg of the four-leg series.

The man “Van-Van” beat for his hometown title—Busta*mante ranked seventh in the world—was to collide with his Mandarin Oriental Hotel roommate.

Before the Filipinos battled, two seeded players were shown the exit. Third-seeded Korean Jeong Young Hwa was the first to go, upended by Singapore’s Toh Lian-Han, 9-5, and China’s Xu Meng saw off No. 7 Patrick Ooi of Malaysia by the same score.

Third seed Chao Fong Pang had some difficulty disposing of the hosts’ Yudarman Kama*rudin, 9-7, but still arranged a second-round clash with fellow Taiwanese Wu Chia Ching, who edged Singapore’s Chan Keng Kwang by an identical tally.

Japan’s Satoshi Kawabata, the No. 6 seed, breezed past Thailand’s Chatchawan Ruthpae, 9-2, to set a second-round encounter with China’s Li He-Wen, a 9-7 winner over Tran Quang Trung.

Indonesia got a win courtesy of Muhammad Zulkifri, who beat Malaysia’s Ibrahim Bin Amir, 9-5, to set a duel with the Singaporean Toh. Thailand’s Wanshana Poomjaeng also went through, whipping Korea’s Ham Won Sik, 9-2.
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