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Derby City 9-Ball: Souquet Bamboozles Bustamante in 3 a.m. Thriller
Jan 13, 2008, 4:14 PM

Souquet turned the tables with his brute breaks.
In a sprawling pool event known for its late-night heroics in the action rooms, straight-arrow Ralf Souquet showed that he has perhaps the biggest heart of them all when it comes to early-morning grit and tenacity.

Souquet became a three-time winner of the Derby City Classic’s 9-ball division with a victory over longtime friend and pool rival Francisco Bustamante in a match that ended at 3:25 a.m. Sunday. It was the last official match of the 2008 Classic, which took place Jan. 4-13 at the Executive West Hotel in Louisville, Ky.

The ultimate match came in Round 15 of the grueling 9-ball competition, just after Bustamante had clobbered Souquet in Round 14 with a seven-rack break-and-run clinic. The 7-2 loss left Souquet with one remaining “life,” making him even with his already once-defeated Filipino foe.

Bustamante, who already had clinched the $20,000 Master of the Table Award for best overall finish in the Classic’s three main events, had all the momentum. In the Round 14 match, he had adjusted his break speed and rack configurations to almost guarantee open shots after his breaks.

But a few wonky breaks and loose safeties by Bustamante early in the Round 15 match allowed Souquet back to the table, and “The Kaiser” took advantage of them. Relying on a combination of sheer-force breaking and gutsy shotmaking, he started gathering steam.

More than 200 diehard fans remaining in the main TV arena watched Souquet vault from a 1-1 tie to a 5-2 lead. Sinking the 1 and 7 balls on the next break but with a tricky cut on the 2 waiting, he engineered the shot of the match, ramming the 2 in the head-rail corner pocket and force-following the cue ball another two rails to end up on the foot rail, in perfect position for the 3.

From there, he ran out to reach the hill, 6-2, and then broke and ran out for the 7-2 victory.

“My goal was to get to the table whenever I had a chance, and then take my chances and not let him get back to the table,” Souquet said of his strategy. “Twice in a row I had to come up with some really tough shots after the break. I just told myself, ‘Stay focused. This is the last match of a really long day.’ I started playing at 11 a.m., with one bye in between. I played maybe nine matches. I said, ‘C’mon, you can’t let it go. Stay in it.’”

Soiuquet became the only three-time 9-ball winner in the Classic’s 10-year history, having won previously in 2004 and 2006.

Despite the late (or early) hour, hundreds of fans remained in the tournament and action rooms, more than a few still involved in money matches. The big draw Sunday morning was a race-to-21 10-ball challenge match between former U.S. Open winners: 2005 champ Alex Pagulayan and 2007’s titlist Shane Van Boening. The two had played the night before in a 21-20 barnburner, with BD Player of the Year Van Boening finishing out the set. Sunday morning action continued between the two as BD’s reporting team left for the airport. Details are available at www.theactionreport.com/


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