Alcano Fires Warning and Reyes Survives Scare

Alcano Fires Warning and Reyes Survives Scare
With four of the 16 groups completing their matches in the opening rounds of the 2007 Philippines World Pool Championship, defending champion Ronnie Alcano fired out a warning shot to his title rivals.
Alcano, who took this title a year ago in the same city, only conceded four racks in the most impressive performance of the opening day.
In his two games he beat lightly regarded Saeed Al Mutawa (UAE) 9-3 before hammering Germany’s Harry Stolka 9-1 to cruise into the knock-out phase.
Stolka had earlier mounted a great comeback to defeat Alex Lely as he trailed 6-0 before clinching a 9-8 triumph. The German later recovered from his loss against Alcano to beat Canada’s Brady Gollan to join Alcano in the last 64.
With all the action taking place on eight Brunswick tables at the Araneta Coliseum, Manila, the $400,000 championship featured a revised first round format to separate the field from 128 players down to 64 over the first four days.
Players are grouped into eight with two wins seeing advancement to the knock-out stages and two defeats spelling out elimination from the competition.
Filipino legend Efren Reyes, a winner of this event in 1999, had looked anything but that as he tamely folded 9-2 against Japanese qualifier Kenichi Uchigaki in the opening match of the tournament on the TV table. Uchigaki went on to beat Alain Martel of Canada to become the first player in the event to crack the last 64.
However, Reyes knuckled down as he secured wins over Liu Chun-chuan (Taiwan) and Poland’s Tomasz Kaplan to make his way into the last 64 mix.
Another former champion, Wu Chia-ching, had a scare as he was taken down by talented Hungarian Vilmos Foldes 9-7, before recovering to beat England�s Craig Osborne 9-4 to qualify.
Other players who take the higher seedings in the knockout draw with two wins from two games include diminuative Vietnamese Luong Chi Dung, a quarter-finalist last year as well as Foldes.
Lu Hui-chan, another of the army of talented Taiwanese players, scored two good wins against top class opposition as he beat countryman Yang Ching-shun and then Asian Games gold medalist Antonio Gabica to qualify. Both Yang and Gabica won their losers bracket deciders to secure their spots.
Debutant Joven Bustamante (Philippines) is something of an unknown quantity but wins over Ibrahim Bin Amir and Jonni Fulcher have registered his presence in the tournament.
Tony Drago was another big name to advance with two wins as he dispatched improving New Zealander Ceri Worts in an error-strewn encounter and then made light work of Poland�s Tomasz Kaplan 9-4.
Of the 32 players competing today, 16 have advanced to the last 64 which commences on Wednesday 7th November.
Play commences tomorrow (Sunday) at 10.30am as a further four groups battle it out.
Four players move through from each group. Player one is the man who won two out of two and conceded the least racks, followed by Player Two – the other man with a 100 per cent record.
Players Three and Four are those with two wins and one loss. These are separated by the person who won the most racks is third. If this was level then it went to least racks lost.
Players advancing into the Last 64
Group 1
1. Ronnie Alcano (PHI), 2. Charlie Williams (USA), 3. Alex Lely (NED), 4. Harald Stolka (GER).
Group 3
1. Luong Chi Dung (VIE), 2. Vilmos Foldes (HUN), 3. Radoslaw Babica (POL), 4. Wu Chia-ching (TPE).
Group 4
1. Lu Hui-chan (TPE), 2. Joven Bustamante (PHI), 3. Yang Ching-shun (TPE), 4. Antonio Gabica (PHI).
Group 6
1. Kenichi Uchigaki (JPN), 2. Tony Drago (MLT), 3. Alain Martel (CAN), 4. Efren Reyes (PHI)

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