Orcollo and Ouschan stand out in EnjoyPool.com play
Six other champions remain undefeated in world class fields
By Paul Berg, Inside POOL Magazine Staff
The heat is on at the EnjoyPool.com 9-ball Championships in Las Vegas, and even the world’s greatest players feel it. Both professional brackets are down to four undefeated players, with tomorrow’s schedule devoted to grueling one-loss play. In the stacked men’s event, a Filipino pairing and a couple of hungry Americans remain unblemished.
Deadly Dennis Orcollo stopped Francisco Bustamante’s run through his countrymen at two, “Django” having most recently defeated Marlon Manalo and Santos Sambajon Jr. on his way to a tough 11-7 loss. Orcollo was relentless, jumping out of the gate with a 5-1 lead as Bustamante struggled to get shape after his breaks. While he rallied, breaking in three and four balls on his way to drawing within a game of Orcollo, a pair of brutal scratches by Bustamante put victory out of reach. Orcollo ran out after both of his last two snaps in the alternate break format with measured strokes to close the door.
Jose Parica escaped another double hill scrape with a top European to meet Orcollo in the next round. After falling behind 6-2 against “The Giant Killer” and rallying to a tie at eight, Mika Immonen reached the hill before Parica after a shocking 8ball miss from the leader of the Filipino invasion. Despite an amazing run-out display to get back in the match, Immonen was unable to finish the job, missing on multiple opportunities to allow Parica to join him on the hill, where he broke and ran out for an 11-10 win.
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Shane Van Boening, specially selected by the BCA as their entry into the field, also nearly squandered a sizeable early lead facing Satoshi Kawabata. The Japanese stalwart’s monster break helped him get back in the match, and like Immonen, he got to the hill first, but the South Dakotan broke and ran out to join him. Kawabata nearly broke in the 9ball, and risked the match on a difficult carom at it off the 2ball. The results were calmly cleaned up by Van Boening. Mike Davis will be his next opponent, coveting another big title in Nevada to match his 2003 win in Reno and coming off an 11-6 victory over Ronnie Wiseman.
In the WPBA-sanctioned womens’ event, Jasmin Ouschan doesn’t appear to be trying to walk the same long path through the one-loss side that earned her a breakout title here last year. Following a 9-6 win over former world champion Shin-Mei Liu on Tuesday night, “The Ice Princess” handed recent Great Lakes Classic winner Xiaoting Pan a 9-3 drubbing, running out frequently from the break and displaying tactical genius when the balls didn’t lay well for offense. Karen Corr is the biggest money winner in the history of this event (dating back to its long-running title, the BCA Open), and stands tall in Ouschan’s path to a title defense following a 9-4 win over Miyuki Sakai.
Alison Fisher and Monica Webb also go into Thursday without a loss, and the number one ranked “Duchess of Doom” and fifth ranked Atlanta assassin will face off. Fisher was never in jeopardy in a 9-4 win over Gerda Hofstatter, while Webb held off her close friend and practice partner, as Helena Thornfeldt came back from a 6-2 deficit valiantly in an eventual 9-6 loss.
The one-loss side of each bracket is populated by twenty top players, and Thursday’s schedule will be a long day for anyone hoping to see Friday. Stay tuned to InsidePOOLmag.com for all the latest news from the Riviera in Las Vegas, as the EnjoyPool.com 9-ball Championships and the BCA National Team events roll on.