16 Still in the Hunt for World Billiards Title

16 Still in the Hunt for World Billiards Title
Following the conclusion of day six of the 2007 Philippines World Pool Championship there are just 16 players left chasing the biggest prize in the game. The Philippines have the largest contingent with four players left in the competition as Francisco Bustamante won a terrific encounter with Holland’s Nick van den Berg.
With a sell-out arena crowd at the Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Manila, the popular Filipino trailed 4-0 to the young Dutchman before gaining control of the table and running into a 9-4 lead.
Bustamante though, missed a 3 ball into the top left hand pocket when just a few shots from victory and van den Berg grabbed his chance.
He won rack after rack, utilizing the soft break and at 8-9 down looked the favourite to win. However, a rare dry break scuppered his chances and Bustamante cleared to the 8 ball before van den Berg, in a sporting gesture, threw his white towel onto the table and embraced his opponent.
“When I missed that 3 ball I thought I’ve got no more shots in this game. The table was easy breaking and everything was in his control,” said Bustamante afterwards.
“When it was 9-8 I thought I had no more chance but got lucky when he had no ball on the break,
“I’m very lucky to be in the last 16 but will try my best as I’m playing the small guy next – Alex Pagulayan!”
Van den Berg put on a brave face at his post match press conference but his pain was apparent; “I feel terrible right now. There was nothing I could do and even at 9-7 down I felt I had the best chance,” he said.
“I was not nervous the whole time. In fact was more nervous on Table 7 yesterday but if you want to beat Busti you cannot miss any balls,” he added.
Also flying the Filipino flag were young guns Roberto Gomez and Joven Bustamante who both won through against Taiwanese opposition.
Bustamante (no relation) beat former champ Wu Chia-ching 10-8 on the TV table while Gomez pounded former two-time champion Chao Fong-pang 10-2
The lone American left in the competition is Corey Deuel following the demise of a lackluster Shane Van Boening and Earl Strickland.
Deuel showed tremendous heart coming from 9-5 down to get the better of three-time Asian Tour winner Chang Jung-ling of Taiwan. His reward is a match-up with another dangerous Chinese Taipei player, Kuo Po-cheng, a runner-up in this event in 2005.
European No.1 Konstantin Stepanov looked impressive in beating local hope Jeff De Luna 10-5. De Luna is a real crowd pleaser but is often too brave on his shot selection and the 24 year-old Muscovite was too composed for him.
Another Eastern European, Vilmos Foldes, put paid to Shane Van Boening’s championship aspirations with a 10-8 win on Table 4. Foldes is the 2003 World Junior Champion and will face Lu Hui-chan who eliminated Poland’s Radoslaw Babica from the competition.
Last year’s runner-up Ralf Souquet also exited stage left as Niels Feijen took him down 10-2. Souquet was suffering from a bad back but Feijen, who was a quarter-finalist in this event in 2001, looks a good outside chance.
Two English players are through to Friday’s last 16 shake-up. Daryl Peach eliminated qualifier Lee Kun-fang’s, a finalist in this event in 1997, on Table 4 and now faces Germany’s Harry Stolka on Friday.
If European form is anything to go by, Peach is ranked No.2 on the EPBF rankings while Stolka is back at No.31.
Manchester’s Karl Boyes, playing in his first World Championship, came back from 8-5 down to win against bespectacled Korean Ryu Seung-woo. Boyes, a former top English 8 ball player, can look ahead to a do-or-die struggle against European No.1 Konstantin Stepanov (Russia).
Play moves to just two tables on Friday as the races increase to 11.


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