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04-02-2005, 05:11 AM
Locals make early exit in 9-ball event

Moch. N. Kurniawan, The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

Despite hope of a much-needed home advantage, all four local entries lost on Friday in the second stop of the San Miguel Asian 9-ball Tour.

In the first round, Yudarman Kamaruddin gave his best but was edged 7-9 by Chao Fong Fang, the 1993 World 9-ball champion, while compatriots Robby Suarly, Muhammad Zulfikri and Muhamad Junarto made it past the first hurdle.

Robby defeated Nguyen Than Nam of Vietnam 9-6, Zulfikri dispatched Ibrahim Bin Amir of Malaysia 9-6 and Junarto won 9-7 over Manan Chandra of India.

Despite Yudarman's loss, Indonesian Billiards and Snooker Association (POBSI) chairman Putera Astaman praised his effort.

"He played well as he could tie Chao 7-7 before finally losing 7-9. Yudarman lost with honor," Putera said.

In the second round, Junarto lost 5-9 to Yang Chin-Shun of Chinese Taipei, Zulfikri was defeated 8-9 by Singaporean Toh Lian-Han and Robby surrendered 8-9 to the Efren Reyes, the three-time 8-ball champion from the Philippines.

Yang easily took an 8-2 lead against Junarto, before the latter closed the gap to 8-5. Yang then overcame his nerves to win.

In an error-filled, seesaw contest, Toh raced to a 6-2 lead, but suddenly lost his rhythm and allowed Zulfikri to catch him at 5-6.

Zulfikri failed in a golden opportunity to put the third ball in during frame 12, thus giving Toh a chance to pull away 7-5.

The Indonesian made another blunder in frame 13 by pocketing the white ball.

But Zulfikri refused to go meekly and gained the advantage when Toh also erred by pocketed the white ball in frame 14.

Toh seemed poised to win in frame 15, but somehow missed a gimme shot, with the eight ball smack in front of the hole.

Zulfikri took the chance to reach 7-8, and then leveled. The end was anticlimactic after the Zulkifri fightback, as the local player missed his first shot and set up a simple putaway for Toh with the nine ball.

"In the last frame, I just didn't see that the nine ball was in front of the first ball, I was too nervous," Zulfikri said.

Toh said Zulfikri played well and he thought the contest was over following his mistake in frame 15.

Meanwhile, Robby, despite holding an 8-7 lead against Reyes, could not seal victory.

In other second round matches, Kuo Po-Cheng of Chinese Taipei sent home Alok Kumar of India 9-4, Wanshana Poomjaeng defeated Xu Meng of China 9-5, teenage wonder boy Wu Chia-Ching of Chinese Taipei thrashed Pang 9-5, Satoshi Kawabata of Japan beat Li He-Wen and Singapore first leg champion Gandy Valle of the Philippines eked out a 9-8 win over compatriot Francisco Bustamante.

On Saturday, it will be Reyes versus Kuo, Poomjaeng against Wu, Toh taking on Kawabata and Yang facing Valle, with matches starting at 10 a.m. at the Hanggar Billiard on Jl. Gatot Soebroto, Central Jakarta.
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