by Edward Asistin
Ricky Yang blitzed through the field of the Philippine Open undefeated and captured the first-place prize of $20,000 USD. His victim in the championship match was Jeffrey “The Bull” De Luna, and this time the bull didn’t know what hit him.
Yang is the number-one-ranked pool player in Indonesia. Up to this date in his professional pool playing career, his biggest accomplishment was achieving a second-place finish in the Jakarta Leg of the 2006 San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour. He was bested by one of the greatest cue artists of all time that day, Efren Reyes, but took home prize money of $5,000 USD. He was also the 2007 SEA Games gold medalist in billiards. He was second to none this time around and left everybody in the dust.
The first semifinal of the Philippine Open was a match between Yang and Lu Hui-Chan (Taiwan). The difference in the match was the three scratches on the break by Lu Hui-Chan. At 3-3 he had the break and scratched. Yang ran out and proceeded to break and run the next rack to go up 5-3. Yang had an opportunity to add to his lead the very next game but committed an error and instead of having a three-game lead, Lu Hui-Chan cut the lead to one game. Almost every time Lu Hui-Chan got within one game he would scratch on the break and Yang would run the rack out. Yang eventually finished off his opponent 9-7 to advance to the championship match.
The second semifinal was much like the first when Demosthenes Pulpul (Philippines) faced off against fellow countryman Jeffrey De Luna. Pulpul broke and ran the first two games of the match, then De Luna won the next four, giving him a two-game margin. Pulpul kept bringing it within a game but could not even the score. De Luna had an opportunity with an open table in the ninth to go up 6-3 but played poor position and could not take the commanding three-game lead. De Luna also had another chance to take the lead 8-6 but missed badly on the 6 ball, which led to the score being level at 7-7. With Pulpul being down 8-7 he had the opportunity to level the score once again but rattled the 7 ball in one of the corner pockets and allowed De Luna to finish off the match.
So the championship match was set, and the final was to be a race to 11 between Yang and De Luna. Here is a quick recap of the final match:
De Luna wins the lag
Rack 1: De Luna leaves Yang a 6-10 combo, Yang hangs it and Jeffrey runs out.
Rack 2: Dry break, Yang runs out the rack.
Rack 3: Ball on break, over cuts 1 ball, De Luna runs out the rack.
Rack 4: Ball on break, runs to 6 ball but misses it badly, Yang runs out.
Rack 5: Ball on break, trade safes on 2 ball, Yang open shot and runs out.
Rack 6: Dry break, De Luna misses 3 badly, Yang runs out.
Rack 7: Break and run.
Rack 8: Break and run.
Rack 9: Ball on break, push out to tough cut on 1 and misses, De Luna runs out.
Rack 10: Ball on break, misses 1 badly, Yang runs out.
Rack 11: Break and run.
Rack 12: Break and run.
Rack 13: Dry break, De Luna runs out.
Rack 14: Break and runs to an easy 9 ball but misses by a mile, Yang runs out.
Rack 15: Break and run.
Yang played near perfect pool and never let De Luna into the match. Only two balls were missed by Yang in the match: a 6-10 combo in the first game of the championship match and a tough cut on the 1 ball after he broke the ninth rack and had to push out after having no shot on the 1 ball. Other than those two misses, Yang never missed another shot, and that led him to an 11-4 victory to capture the title of 2009 Philippine Open Champion.
1ST $20,000 USD
2ND $10,000 USD
JEFFREY DE LUNA
3-4TH $5,000 USD
5-6TH $3,200 USD
7-8TH $2,800 USD
13-16TH $1,800 USD
CHAN KENG KWAN
JAMES AL ORTEGA
YOUNG HWA JEONG