Pinoys shut out of World 9-ball semis
In the end, Antonio’s Gabica’s spirited fightback was not enough, and the World 9 Ball Championship Final Four will be without any Filipino.
The Lapu-Lapu City native was felled by China’s Lee He Wen, 11-10. The Chinese shooter has now reached the semis of the World 9 Ball for the second time. He last made it this far in 2006, when he was beaten by eventual champion Ronnie Alcano.
Gabica lives in Doha and was hoping to please the Pinoy expatriate crowd at the Al Sadd Sports Club, but it wasn’t to be. He fell behind 7-2 at one point before staging a furious rally. Unfortunately for the one-time Sportswriters Association of Cebu awardee, Lee found an opening in the final rack decider and cooly cleaned up.
The semifinals will pit Darren Appleton of England vs. Japan’s Naoyuki Oi while Lee plays Germany’s Ralf Souquet.
The day started brightly for the Philippines as Dennis Orcollo took out Hsu Kai Lun of Chinese Taipei, 11-8, and Jundel Mazon sent Russia’s Konstantin Stepanov packing, 11-3 in the round of 32. Gabica also edged Chinese Taipei’s Yang Ching Shun, 11-10 to break into the last 16. But Lee Van Corteza will have to wait another chance to claim his first world title as Mika Immonen of Finland beat him, 11-5.
Efren Reyes was also shown the door, 11-10 by Germany’s Dominic Jentsch. Reyes was hoping to add to his lone World 9 Ball title from 1999 but it wasn’t his day.
ORCOLLO’S SHOCKING LOSS
That left three Filipinos in the last sixteen. But hopes of a large Pinoy contingent barging into the quarters were soon dashed. Mazon was eliminated by Chinese Taipei star Ko Pin Yi, 11-9. Then came a huge shock: Holland’s Nick van den Berg crushed Dennis Orcollo 11-6. The many-time Mosconi Cupper then lost his quarterfinal match to another European, Germany’s Ralf Souquet.
Gabica was left to try and carry the flag in the last 8. He did not disappoint, holding his nerve to beat Immonen 11-9.
The last eight was a diverse lot, with only one nation, Great Britain, with Karl Boyes and Darren Appleton, boasting of more than one player. Appleton brushed aside Ko Pin Yi, 11-9, to stay on course for his second world title. He grabbed his first in Manila four years ago at the World 10 Ball championship.
Meanwhile Naoyuki Oi continued his drive to make it two Japanese champions in a row as he took out Boyes, 11-9 in the quarterfinal. The defending champion is his countryman Yukio Akagariyama.
Every race in the knockout stage is a Race-to-11 except for the final which will be an extended Race-to-13.
The winner of this event receives $40,000 while the runner-up takes home $20,000. Losing semifinalists will receive $12,000 while quarterfinalists bank $8,000. yahoosports.com with correspondent Marlon Bernardino
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