Final Four Cast Complete: Souquet, Liu , Hohmann, Lining
by Frederico Makabenta
It’s now down to the final four players. The new champion in the Philippine Open Pool Championships will be known today, Monday, April 11, at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. As early as Sunday afternoon, Ricky Yang of Indonesia, the defending champion, bowed out of the tournament after suffering his second setback. He lost to up-and-coming Filipino player Carlo Biado, 1-9, as early as the round-of-16. The 27-year old Biado continued to push his luck as far as he could and he did that with a stunning 9-7 win over his compatriot, newly-crowned World 8-Ball champion Dennis Orcullo.
His luck ended in a do-or-die battle against former world champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, who won in a thrilling 9-8 encounter. The German player, who is seeking his first championship on Philippine soil, joined his bosom buddy and countryman Ralf Souquet and Liu Haitao of China, two players who barged into the Final Four unscathed going to the final day.
The last berth for the semifinals was disputed by veteran Filipino Antonio Lining and Darren Appleton of Great Britain. Lining prevailed in the tightly contested match, 9-6. “It’s nice to be in the semifinals. It’s always fun for me competing in the Philippines and until now, I have yet to win a title here,” said Hohmann. “I made several mistakes, including the missed shot at the No. 10 ball, which could have given me a chance to finish off the match earlier. But he made mistakes, too, and we had an interesting finish by making several safety exchanges.” Lining is the last Filipino standing.
His win over Appleton, a former World Ten Ball champion, was aided by luck coupled with the Briton’s erratic game, which came at a perfect time. “Luck played a big part in my victory, as well as the bad game he played,” said Lining. The four players take center stage on Monday beginning at 12 noon with Lining taking on Souquet and Liu going up against Hohmann.
Chen vs Fisher for women’s championship Siming Chen of China and Kelly Fisher of Great Britain arranged a titular showdown for the women’s championship. Chen survived former Amway World champion Lin Yuan Chun of Chinese Taipei, 9-6, while Fisher defeated former World Women’s 9-Ball champion Li Sha Sha of China by the same score. Fisher broke free from a 6-6 standoff by taking the next three racks and spoiling a possible all-Chinese finale. Chen came back from a 3-5 deficit before turning back Lin, a crack competitor who once played against some of the best male players in the inaugural World Ten Ball Championship in Manila in 2008.