U.S. Open Winners’ Bracket Halved to 16, Filipino Contingent Still Strong
Late Night Ahead for One-Loss Hopefuls in Chesapeake
by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
Deservedly under the television lights during both Billiard Club Network live matches, top 9-ballers from The Republic of the Philippines stole the show tonight at the 32nd U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. With impressive 11-7 wins, Jose Parica and Ronato Alcano have stepped past other greats from their homeland. Both are in the same quarter of the draw, which is down to 16 undefeated billiards players, with an estimated 29 more that will wake up alive in another way if all one-loss matches are completed in the wee hours Friday morning. With dazzling performances from unbeaten threats and massive shows of heart from B-side battlers, Thursday at the Open was a sign of even better 9-ball to come.
Amidst the Filipino-laden third quarter of the draw, Parica opened a 6-3 lead against Francisco Bustamante that turned into an 11-7 victory. The match history between the two is very lopsided in Parica’s favor, a notable loss for Bustamante coming here two years ago in the semifinal match. Next for “The Leader of the Invasion” in his charge to do one better than his multiple runner-up Open finishes will be strong Canadian Tyler Edey, who defeated 2004 runner-up Thorsten Hohmann. With a 10-8 lead, Edey played a safety with just the 9 remaining on the table, leaving the cue ball on the opposite end rail and inducing a bank attempt from Hohmann that left a long 11-8 clincher for Edey.
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The other remaining pairing on their chart will be Alcano and Warren Kiamco. A veteran from Parica’s era, Kiamco jumped out to a 6-1 lead on young fellow Filipino Lee Van Corteza, and despite a rally from the offensively explosive Turning Stone Classic winner, Kiamco took charge and finished comfortably 11-6. For reigning world 9-ball champ Alcano’s part, playing under the television lights against his hero in youth Efren Reyes, things got a bit tighter.
Alcano gained a 6-3 lead when Reyes rattled the 6 ball, and he banked it home to start a clearance. Reyes took the next four games and a 7-6 lead, Alcano missing the 3 ball in the thirteenth rack after the blitz from “Bata.” Capitalizing on a pair of uncharacteristic misses, getting a fortunate roll on one of his own and out-dueling Reyes in a kick-safety contest, Alcano swept the next seven games from there for the 11-7 triumph.
Alongside Alcano in the 9 PM match time, other favorites continued to progress. Yet another feared Pinoy, Dennis Orcollo broke out of a 4-4 knot with Tony Crosby, running four racks from the break at one stretch en route to an 11-4 victory. And with a clutch 8-9 carom after Rodolfo Luat scratched with six balls left on the table, backroom great James Walden claimed an 11-10 victory to reach Orcollo and complete his sweep of last year’s Open finalists.
In their quarter of the bracket, a match was brewing since the draw went down between Johnny “The Scorpion” Archer and Ralf “The Surgeon” Souquet. Archer was in control throughout his 11-5 win over Tony Chohan. Souquet went the distance with Larry Nevel despite an early advantage for the German. With the score tied at 9 and Nevel breaking, neither player made a ball on the break nor missed a shot afterwards, the alternating run-outs resulting in an 11-10 escape for Souquet.
US Open Tournament Bracket A1
US Open Tournament Bracket A2
US Open Tournament Bracket B1
US Open Tournament Bracket B2
Archer isn’t Atlanta’s only remaining undefeated threat. Louis Ulrich resides there these days, and with an 11-0 win over Ernesto Dominguez (a rarity as late as the fourth round of the Open), he’ll have a date with Tony Robles in the fifth round, courtesy of “The Silent Assassin” holding off Japan’s Naoyuki Oi 11-8. Japan will still be represented in their quarter of the bracket, as Tomoki Mekari advanced 11-10 over past Open winner Tommy Kennedy to reach a match with two-time Open champ Allen Hopkins, himself a winner over Chuck Raulston.
Corey Deuel just concluded the last of winners’ bracket play in an 11-10 victory over Shannon Daulton, a match that was moved from the television table to expedite play. Mike Davis is waiting for him, having hung on to a dwindling lead against Rodney Morris 11-9. Rounding out their section of the chart will be Shane Van Boening by way of an 11-3 stomping of Marcus Chamat, facing Ronnie Wiseman, who nipped John Morra 11-10 after a long-missed 9 ball when the Detroiter was up 10-7.
There is still plenty to sort out on the B-side of the chart. Many great victories have been followed by obliterations at the hands of those coming out of the winners’ bracket with something to prove. Stay tuned to InsidePOOLmag.com for an update tomorrow on the shooters taking the long road to the most coveted crown in 9-Ball.
As a special note, Dan Louie was the victim of internal distress of an as-yet-undisclosed nature earlier today when he collapsed in the midst of his match. He is in stable condition after successful surgery, and here at the Conference Center, promoter Barry Behrman stepped to the microphone to echo the prayers and thoughts of his many friends and admirers here at the storied U.S. Open.