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05-01-2005, 08:31 AM
Monday, May 02, 2005


RP bets swept out of Taiwan


KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan: For the first time in the 3-year existence of San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour, there will be no Filipino in the semifinals.

Local hero Yang Ching Shun made sure of that by beating Ronnie Alcano, 9-6, in the last quarterfinal duel late Saturday night at the Kaohsiung Business Exhibition Center here.

Yang also averted a shutout for the hosts, as his seven comrades fell by the wayside one after another in the $50,000 event organized by ESPN STAR Sports and sponsored by San Miguel Beer.

The 27-year-old son of this port city seized control early by breaking Alcano’s service on the fifth and seventh racks while holding his own turns to post a commanding 6-2 lead.

Alcano did a good job of keeping the pressure on Yang, but the sixth seeded Taiwanese did a better job of keeping his composure.

The Filipino qualifier pulled within a rack twice after a string of three set-winners for 5-6 and a runout on the 13th for 6-7.

But Yang answered with runouts on the 12th and 14th and just waited for Alcano to blink.

“It’s really difficult when you’re left behind, especially in the alternate break [format],” said Alcano. “I tried to catch up too late, and the table wasn’t cooperative in the end.”

He sealed his doom with an error after trying to check the safety shot of Yang on the blue two.

Yang’s semifinal opponent is Japanese seventh seed Satoshi Kawabata, a 9-5 winner over Ibrahim Bin Amir of Malaysia in the quarters.

Only once in the young history of the tour has a Filipino failed to advance to the finals, with Yang winning his second leg title at the expense of compatriot Hsia Hui Kai in Hong Kong last year. Yang ousted Reyes in the semifinals of that leg.

Gandy Valle and Efren “Bata” Reyes ruled this year’s first two legs held in Singapore and Indonesia, respectively. They each won the top leg prize of $10,000.

This time, Valle fell in the first round along with qualifiers Christopher Bombita and Leo*nardo “Dodong” Andam, while Bin Amir ambushed Reyes in the second round.

Francsico “Django” Busta*mante continued to sputter in the tour, losing a four-rack lead and the match to Japanese Kunihiko Takahashi in the quarterfinals.

The former world No. 1 failed to score again after posting a 7-3 lead to remain winless in the tour after 10 appearances.

In the other quarterfinal pair, Au Chi Wai delivered a golden performance and shocked last year’s World Pool Championship runner-up Chang Pei Wei, 9-8.

Au, a known snooker player, thus became the first player from the former crown colony to enter the semifinals of the tour.

Takahashi and Au will dispute the other final seat.

The fourth and final leg of the Tour will take place in Manila on June 3-5. The top ten finishers in the Tour Order of Merit will automatically qualify for the World Pool Championships in Kaohsiung this July.

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 it 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 Kaohsiung City Government and the Chinese Taipei Billiards Association.

Iwan Simonis and Aramith supply the official tablecloth and official balls respectively. Brunswick Metro is the official pool table, Grand Hi-Lai Hotel Kaohsiung is the official hotel and the Kaohsiung Business and Exhibition Center is the official venue. STAR Sports is the official broadcaster.

web page (http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2005/may/02/yehey/sports/20050502spo1.html)