Final Four Set for Philippine Open
by Edward Asistin
Day four of the Philippine Open started off with a bang with all of the remaining players playing in the first session of the day. In half of the matches, it was either do or die—win or go home. The other half were matches to reach the play-in matches on the winner’s side.
On the one-loss side, Ko Pin-Yi was down to Corey Deuel 8-3 and mounted a comeback to fall short after a scratch on the break in rack 15 to lose 9-6. Darren Appleton survives a scare down 8-7 to Antonio Gabica but pulled it out. Gabe Owen bested Allan Cuartero handily 9-4. Jeffrey De Luna won over Oscar Dominguez 9-4. Losers received $1,800 USD.
On the winners’ side, Kelly Fisher missed two 10 balls and didn’t get any rolls, always ending up hooked on misses by Demosthenes Pulpul, and she fell 9-2. Radoslaw Babica made quick work of Marcus Chamat 9-2. Ricky Yang battle with Chang Pei-Wei and outlasted him 9-6. Lu Hui-Chan handled Rudy Susanto fairly easily.
The first match on the TV table was one of the play-in matches on the winners’ side that featured Radoslaw Babica (Poland) and Ricky Yang (Indonesia). The second match on the TV table broadcast the other play-in match on the winner’s side that featured Demosthenes Pulpul (Philippines) versus Lu Hui-Chan (Taiwan). The winners moved on into the final four single-elimination bracket and are guaranteed to take home at least $5,000 USD.
Ricky Yang is the top-ranked player from Indonesia and has made his way through the winners’ side by besting the top-two-ranked players from Japan; Filipino Leonardo Didal, who disposed of top-ranked Taiwanese Fu Che-Wei; and Chang Pei-Wei, also of Taiwan. Babica is the “seed killer” and disposed of the fifteenth seed Karen Corr, fellow European Martin Kemper, reigning world 10-ball champion and number-two seed Darren Appleton, and seventh seed Marcus Chamat. Their match was tied at 2-2, then Yang won the next three. From 6-3, Babica took the next three to get it back to 6-6. Yang won the next two to make it 8-6, and though Babica made a combo on the 10 in rack number 15 to get to 7, Yang ran out the next rack to finish Babica off 9-7.
The rest of the second session were elimination matches. Tied at 4 at one point, Darren Appleton won the next five games to oust Kelly Fisher 9-4. Corey Deuel dominated Chang Pei-Wei 9-3 and sent him packing. Jeffrey De Luna handled Rudy Susanto 9-4 to eliminate him, and Marcus Chamat bested Gabe Owen and sent him home 9-6. Losers in this round received $2,200 USD.
The second match on the TV table was not a match but an exhibition of excellence when Demosthenes Pulpul demolished Liu Hui-Chan 9-1. There was no stopping Pulpul as his break was working like magic, making three or more balls on his break a few times. With that win he advanced to the final four single-elimination bracket.
Corey Deuel defeated Marcus Chamat to reach one of two play-in matches on the one-loss side. Deuel controlled the match throughout and even missed a 10 ball in the sixth rack, but he didn’t let it bother him and won the next five games before finishing his opponent off 9-4. Deuel won seven straight matches on the one-loss side, but he needed an eighth to get into the final four and fell short.
Deuel had played in every session on Saturday and just couldn’t muster enough energy and focus to finish out the day against Lu Hui-Chan, who extended his lead from the start 5-1. Corey could never get back into it and lost 9-4. Lu Hui-Chan was proving that his loss to Pulpul on the TV table was a fluke and Deuel ended up taking the brunt of it.
Jeffrey “The Bull” De Luna eliminated Darren Appleton 9-6 to reach the last play-in match. Appleton had the lead 6-5, and De Luna played solid pool while Appleton made some mistakes to let De Luna win the next four games. De Luna would play Radoslaw Babica in the play-in match, where he controlled the entire match and won 9-4.
The final four, then, are set for the Philippine Open: Lu Hui-Chan versus Ricky Yang, and Jeffrey De Luna versus Demosthenes Pulpul.