Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Top seed Ko advances in Subic-Olongapo billiards tourney

Two-time world junior champion Ko Pin Yi of Chinese-Taipei played true to his billing as the tournament’s biggest draw when he led 16 others to advance into the next round of the Subic-Olongapo Open Pool Championship at the Olongapo Convention Center in Olongapo City.

The young and promising Ko, the top seed in the tournament, went to work early in the opening stage breezing past his first two opponents – Alex Nobleza (9-2) and Muhammad Bewi of Indonesia (9-4) to serve notice of his aspirations of securing the golden trophy and the $10,000 top prize money that goes with it.

Five Filipino players also went unscathed on opening day – Mario Tolentino, Victor Arpilleda, Leonardo Didal, Elvis Calasang and Arnel Bautista.

“I was just lucky I didn’t face top-caliber opponents today," said Ko thru interpreter Yanick Po. “I really like my chances here, especially now that Jericho (Bañares) was relegated to the loser’s bracket."

Bañares, runner-up to Ko in last year’s World Junior Championship and the champion in the Billiard Stars Search, was relegated to the loser’s bracket after dropping a 9-6 decision at the hands of Arpilleda.

But the second-ranked Bañares kept his hopes alive after outlasting Junbert Ogang in a hill-hill battle, 9-8.

Aside from beating Bañares, the comebacking Arpilleda completed a successful first-round victory over Rudi Susanto of Indonesia, 9-6.

Bautista handily defeated Taiwanese Lu Chui-chan 9-5, and earlier beat compatriot Edgar Acaba, 9-5.

But it was the local bets who stole the spotlight away from the top guns.

Olongapo City Billiards Association president Florencio Banar recorded the biggest upset when he eliminated fourth-seed Jeffrey de Luna, 9-6.

Not to be outdone, Daniel De la Rosa also did honor for the host city and the province of Zambales by recording a 2-1 card going into the second day of matches.

The two players are giving home fans something to cheer about in this event. – GMANews.TV

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