Immonen Wins World Ten Ball Championship

Day One of the World Ten Ball Championships

-Jerry Forsyth, WPA Press Officer-

World 10 Ball Day 1

World 10 Ball Day 1

Some big names have hit the bricks at the WPA World Ten Ball Championships in Manila. Ralf Souquet of Germany is now on the one-loss side after dropping his first match 9-6 to Thomasz Kaplan of Poland. He is joined there by Shane Van Boening of the USA, Jeff De Luna of the Philippines, and Ronnie Alcano of the Philippines. Van Boening lost 9-8 to Nguyen Anh Tuan of Viet Nam, and Alcano lost 9-7 to Dang Jin-Hu of China.

While some of our names have met with early misfortune, others have dominated their opponents. Kuo Po-Cheng (CHN) rolled over Matjaz Erculj (SLO) 9-4, Nick Van Den Berg (NED) slaughtered Kim Woong Dae (KOR) 9-1, Niels Feijen (NED) did the same 9-1 cruelty to Scott Higgins (GBR), and Chang Pei-Wei (TPE) busted Elvis Calasang (PHI) 9-3.

World 10 Ball

World 10 Ball

Vincent Facquet did well for France by trouncing Christoph Reintjes of Germany 9-3, Olvier Ortmann of Germany easily handled Ibrahim Bun Amir of Malaysia 9-1 and Mika Immonen of Finland continued his dominance of everyone he faces by bombing Basher Hussain of Qatar 9-1.

The results above are all from the afternoon rounds. Play continued at the World Trade Center well into the night as many matches are extending beyond their two-hour expected time frame. The evenng rounds found the crowds focused on the local players. They roared their approval when Marlon Manalo (PHI) beat Stevie Moore (USA) 9-4. There was more to celebrate when Antonio Gabica (PHI) destroyed Ralf Mund (GER) 9-2, Carlo Blado (PHI) creamed Liu Haitao (CHN) 9-4 and Warren Kiamco (PHI) disdained Chi Dung Lung (CHN) 9-4.

No one is as yet out of the running for the title. All who fell today have another bullet left and will not be eliminated until they have again tasted defeat. Stay with us. This story is just in the first chapter.

Day Two at the World Ten Ball Championships

-Jerry Forsyth, WPA Press Officer-

Star Paper

Star Paper

This was the first day that any players could be eliminated from competition by going two and out. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the early exit by American player Shane Van Boening. Van Boeing lost today to young Russian superstar Konsatntin Stepanov 9-6.  Martin Kempter of Austria also left the room today after dropping his match on the hill to Tey Choon Kat of Singapore.  Another disappointment to the crowd came when local hero Demosthenes Pulpul faced off against Ronnie Alcano in a match that had to eliminate one Filipino. That would be Pulpul as Alcano prevailed 9-5.

There were smiling faces on the other end of the charts as many players have now won two matches and thus qualified for the final round of 64. Names here include Dennis Orcullo (PHI), Kuo Po-Cheng (TPE), defending champion Darren Appleton (GBR), Niles Feijen (NED), Ernesto Dominguez (USA), Lee Van Corteza (PHI), Alain Martel (CAN), Thorsten Hohmann (GER), and the British duo of Karl Boyes and Imran Majid.

Many players are now left on tenterhooks as they must live or die on a single match tomorrow. The names treading on this shaky ground include Johnny Archer (USA), Ralf Souquet (GER), Nick Van Den Berg (NED), Mika Immonen (FIN) , Oliver Ortmann (GER), Tyler Edey (CAN),  Jeff De Luna and Ronnie Alcano of the Philippines and Daryl Peach of Great Britain.

Friday will set the stage for the draw into the final bracket of 64 players. Then every match will mean either progression or dismissal and the tension will only increase and the competition toughen with each round.

Tiger, the mascot

Tiger, the mascot

Today also found the press corps on a side trip over to Star Paper, home of the Star Billiards Center where the top names in Filipino pool gather to train. This 40-table room offers them free table time, free food, wireless internet access and a café with dining area. But perhaps the most striking part of the room is its mascot. Tiger, as he is aptly named, is a six-month-old Siberian tiger that has the roam of the room. Playful and beautiful, Tiger gets whatever Tiger wants, including his daily fill of chicken. No one wants Tiger walking around hungry!

Field Cut in Half at World Ten Ball Championship

-Jerry Forsyth, WPA Press Officer-

Corey Deuel

Corey Deuel

After three hard days of play the final field of 64 has now been determined. Thirty-two of these players are thus far undefeated and will be seeded into the final brackets according to their performance up to this point. The other 32 players are subjected to a blind draw to determine whom they will face in the matches tomorrow.

There will be many exciting matches on Saturday. Filipino hotshot Jericho Banares will play Thorsten Hohmann on the first TV match of the day. Other TV matches will feature Lee Van Corteza against Konsatantin Stepanov and Oscar Dominguez will do battle with Dennis Orcullo.

David Alcaide

David Alcaide

The outside tables will find, among others, Corey Deuel squared off with Antonio Lining, Niels Feijen facing Mika Immonen in a match between two giants of the game who know one another well, Imran Majid versus Ronnie Alcano, Ralf Souquet against Ignacio Chavez, Marcus Chamat will play Kuo Po-Cheng and David Alcaide will have to fade Antonio Gabica.

We are now down to the single-elimination stages so every match is do or die. Fans will be watching to see which players are able to remain in their pace and which will succumb to the nerves of the moment. Pick your favorites now. In three short days we will have a new Champion of the World!

DANG!

-Jerry Forsyth, WPA Press Officer-

Mika Immonen

Mika Immonen

There are always surprises at this stage of a tournament but perhaps the biggest one is the survival of Chinese player Jin Hu Dang. He got in this championship as an alternate to the qualifiers by filling the slot of a player who did not make the trip to Manila and he has made the most of the opportunity. Tonight he beat Chun Shun Yang (TPE) to progress to the round of 32.

Tomorrow he faces another heavyweight in the form of Sweden’s Marcus Chamat. Chamat beat Po Cheng Kuo 9-7 tonight. Our defending champion, Darren Appleton, is still in the fight as he bested Craig Osborne 9-3 to glide into the next round.

There are many interesting match-ups to be contested on Sunday. Warren Kiamco goes up against Thorsten Hohmann, Mika Immonen faces Marlon Manalo and David Alcaide, who recently won the Predator Ten Ball stop in Portugal, will go to war with former World Champion Fong Pang Chao.

The prize money now increases at a rapid rate with each win. The players will be battling their own nerves as well as their opponents and mistakes will be sorely punished. Two days to go yet and nobody wants to board an early flight.

Down to Four in Manila

-Jerry Forsyth, WPA Press Officer-

Lee Van Corteza

Lee Van Corteza

The first order of business today at the WPA World Ten Ball Championship was to winnow the field of 32 down to the Sweet Sixteen. Comebacks seemed to be the order of the day as Lee Van Corteza, who had trailed Yu Lung Chang 7-2, roared back with a display of break and runs to win the match 9-8. Daryl Peach had trailed Satoshi Kawabata 5-1 but turned that around and won 9-7 after denying any control of the table to Kawabata in the second half of the match. Finally Dennis Orcullo came back from a 7-2 deficit to Hayato Hijikata to win that match 9-8.

Mika Immonen and Marlon Manalo had a much closer run. They were tied at 6 games each before Mika hit that gear of his to take over and win 9-6. His usual nemesis, Ralf Souquet, had a terrible 41st birthday today as he was eliminated 9-6 by He Wen Li.

Other matches of note found Warren Kiamco besting Thorsten Hohmann 9-5, Antonio Lining beating Naoyuki Ooi 9-7, Nick Van Dne Berg overcoming Jonni Fulcher 9-4, Thomas Engert dominating Imran Majid 9-2, David Alcaide making it look easy against former World Champion Chao Fong-Pang 9-5 and our defending champion Darren Appleton crushing Stephan Cohen 9-5.

The next round would create the Great Eight. Warren Kiamco stayed sharp and eliminated Daryl Peach 9-7. Antonio Lining cruised past Jomar De Ocampo 9-2 while Mika Immonen continued his threat with a 9-7 victory over Nick Van Den Berg. New World Junior Champion Ruslan Chinokhov overcame Elvis Calasang 9-6 and Lee Van Corteza came out ahead in a nip and tuck battle with Thomas Engert 9-7. Chinese superstar He Wen Li eliminated his countryman Wang Ming 9-8, defending champion Darren Appleton overcame a 4-game deficit against Marcus Chamat to progress 9-7 and David Alcaide kept his campaign going by defeating Dennis Orcullo 9-6.

The day was not over. We still had to determine the final four that would return on Monday for the grand glory of a World Championship. First to go out in this round was our defending Champion, Darren Appleton.  Appleton lost out 9-6 to the super-strong David Alcaide. Mika Immonen continued his invincible play against Ruslan Chinakhov and moved in to the final group easily 9-6. Antonio Lining had to go all the way to double-hill to win over Warren Kiamco 9-8 and Lee Van Corteza placed the second Filipino into the final four with his 9-7 win over He Win Li.

Our semifinals on Monday will find Corteza facing Alcaide and Lining going up against Immonen. The locals are hoping for an all-Filipino final, but there is a lot of work to be done to accomplish that.

Immonen Wins World Ten Ball Championship

-Jerry Forsyth, WPA Press Officer-

Mika Immonen wins

Mika Immonen wins

There can be no doubt as to who the best player in the world is now. Mika Immonen of Finland has won the World Ten Ball Championship in Manila scant weeks after winning his second consecutive US Open and the Challenge of Champions. These wins push him over the $200,000 mark for the year and cement his place firmly in pool history.

Immonen entered the final day as one of four players left out of the 128 who started the week. His first victim for the day was Antonio Lining of the Philippines whom he beat 9-7. Just after this win the other semi-final between Lee Van Corteza of the Philippines and David Alcaide of Spain ended with Corteza earning the right to face Immonen 9-7. Corteza began the final with a hot hand and led 2-0 after the first two racks. But from there Immonen found his game and slowly pulled away to take the title 11-6 in a convincing victory.

Congratulations go out to Raya Sports for their production of this year’s championship and the Republic of the Philippines for being such gracious hosts.


Nagle Tops Rockaway Field

The Blaze Tour rolled through Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ on November 22nd, 2009. While the host room Rockaway Biliards is a tour favorite location, the event drew fewer players than expected..

Winner Bruce Nagle owner Bob Geurra and runner up Mike Miller

Winner Bruce Nagle owner Bob Geurra and runner up Mike Miller

Several of the top players on the grind came out to try to take advantage of the lack of other top players who went to to the Snookers event. Mike Miller, Spanky Kaba, Wali Muhammad and Jerry Tarantola all were looking to make a statement. NY area aspiring women’s professional “Snookie” Diana Rojas, made the trip to Jersey as well. “Snookie” has been recently tearing it up in the NYC area, while consistently showing heart and determination. Snookie was joined in the tournament by another aspiring female player who has been breaking through lately, Sandy Paterino.

Junior Champion Jonathan Castillo continues impress the Tri-State Area as his game continues to rise. Jonathan ran into a brick wall in Nick Kos who played a near flawless set and had Jonathat 6-1 before battling back to 6-5 before Nick was able to capture his seventh game.

Rockaway Billiards has 18 Gold Crown I Billiard Tables, which played similar to the way the tables played in the legendary pool hall, Golden Q in Queens, NY. Hosts Bob and Karen Guerra were tremendous hosts and Bob was impressive in bouncing back from a 1st round loss to win two consecutive sets 7-1, 7-2.

The mix between old school equipment and mistique as well as new school talent and energy was enjoyable to see unfold. Early in the tournament Spanky Kaba and Bruce Nagle were impressive with gritty early victories staying on the Winners Bracket, while Jerry Tarantola upset Mike Miller by a 7-5 score to earn two consecutive wins.

Snookie was impressive in bouncing back from a first round loss to shut out Frank Rosa 7-0, while Mike Miller was stirring it up on the one loss side. Mike caught a gear and went through Paul Johnson 7-2, Yusef Khan 7-3, Jerry T 7-2, Nick Kos 7-5 and Spanky 7-2… earning him a spot in the finals.

Nick Kos was solid in battling back from 4-0 in one match before coming back from 6-1 to almost tie it 6-6. Nick had a long shot on the nine ball with a slight angle and misjudged it as he scratched in the corner pocket after pocketing the nine ball to tie the score at 6-6.

Mike Miller was matched up against Spanky Kaba who couldn’t fade Mike Millers effective break and run out gear, which led to a 7-2 score.

In the finals it was a a match up of the two hottest players in the tournament… Mike Miller blazing his way through the one loss side, as well as Bruce Nagle’s who’s play has been remarkable.

Bruce went through Scott Abramowitz, Frank Rosa, Mike Watson, Jerry T, Spanky in impressive fashion. Bruce has been in dead gear as he has settled into his new pool room newly opened in January called Bankshot Bililards in Luzerne,PA.

Mike Miller won the flip, and from his first inning at the table, Bruce took control of the match. Jumping out to a 2-0 lead, then 4-2 lead… which surprised most players which pegged Mike as the favorite.

Mike missed a key 8-ball to close the gap to 5-3, allowing Bruce to extend his lead and to 5-2. Bruce never looked back as he sailed to a final score of 7-2.

Congratulations to Bruce Nagel who’s agressive play and fast tempo stormed the the tournament in impressive fashion.

The Blaze Tour’s Next Stop is at Drexline Billiard Club in Drexel Hill, PA on November 29.

Final Results:

1st: Bruce Nagle $620

2nd: Mike Miller $300

3rd: Spanky Kaba $215

4th: Jerry Tarantola $70