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  1. #1


    Tue, 04 Sep 2012


    By Ted Lerner
    Matchroom Sport/WPA

    (Manila, Philippines)--Defending World Cup of Pool champions Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann of Team Germany know they have the right stuff to become the first team to win back to back titles in pool’s premiere scotch doubles event. But as the 32, two-man teams representing 31 nations gear up for what promises to be 6 days of epic showdowns beginning Tuesday in Manila, the German duo finds themselves in a completely different circumstance from last year.

    Coming into the 2011 World Cup of Pool in Manila, both players were riding a wave of confidence brought on by individual success. Souquet had come off a massive win in the World Pool Masters only the week prior, his first ever victory in Manila after dozens of tries. Hohmann had just won a big Straight pool event in the United States. And the pair was ravenous for doubles gold.

    “It was a tournament we really wanted to win,” Souquet said during a press conference Monday in Manila at the Robinson’s Place Mall, the site of the 2012 World Cup of Pool. “Two years prior to that we felt we should have won against Efren (Reyes) and Django(Bustamante). We kind of felt that that tournament in 2009 was kind of stolen from us. We really wanted to win this event and we were hungry.”

    After battling back against Korea in the semi-finals, the Germans crushed the upstart Thais in the finals and waltzed to their first World Cup of Pool title.

    This year, however, neither player has to yet to enter the winners circle in any event. Still, Souquet and Hohmann aren’t letting that worry them. They are so comfortable playing as team that they are still brimming with confidence.

    “I’m feeling great,” Souquet said. “I haven’t won a tournament this year yet so it’s about time I won one.”

    “I feel the same,” Hohmann said. “I can’t see any other pairing playing that well together like we did last year. People told us that we played the best doubles ever played in the history of the World Cup of Pool. We are friends on and off the table. Our styles of play are similar. And I’d say we’re more relaxed this year. We already won this thing.”

    “We’re still hungry,” Souquet said. “We want to defend our title. Last year we were hungry in a different way. Now we’re the ones being hunted. We’re really looking forward to it.”

    “Hunted” would seem the appropriate word as the field for this year’s World Cup is chock full of pool’s best talent all craving for the opportunity to wrap their arms around the large silver cup and to fill their pockets with the $60,000 first place prize. Teams to take note of include England featuring Chris Melling and World number 1 and World 9-ball Champion Darren Appleton; Nick van den Berg and Huidji See of Holland; Liu Haitao and Li He-wen of China; Team USA featuring the 2008 winning pair of Shane Van Boening and Rodney Morris; Naoyuki Oi and Satoshi Kawabata of Japan; Team Philippines A with Dennis Orcollo and Lee Van Corteza; and of course the two-time World Cup of Pool champions and legends Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante representing Philippines B.

    As could be expected from two pool legends, the presence of Reyes and Bustamante at Monday’s press conference drew hordes of fans trying to get a glimpse or a photo of the local heroes.

    With a combined age of 106 years, the two Hall of Famers can cut an awe inspiring and intimidating presence for any opponent. But playing and winning in front of their rabid hometown fans is hardly easy as expectations of Filipino pool fans are always win or else.

    “We always got lots of pressure here in the Philippines,” Reyes said with his trademark toothless smile. “Before when we are younger we can handle the pressure, but now it’s difficult to handle the pressure. The hands are no good anymore.”

    Reyes, however, understands there’s another side to that pressure and it’s something their opponents can quickly feel too.

    “If we can start to play good and our fans support us, then it’s going to be good. We enjoy doubles.”

    “Me and Efren we always respect each other,” Bustamante said. “It’s a lot of fun to play with him.”

    As for the inevitable pressure, Bustamante knows too that it cuts both ways.

    “Our countrymen always want us to win. Especially Efren. If we lose everyone gets upset. If we win, you’ll see how happy they are. He’s 58 and I’m 48. We are the oldest team in this tournament. We’re going to make a big party if we win.”

    No matter who is left holding the silver cup on Sunday, pool fans are guaranteed a bus load of drama, upsets and dramatic twists and turns. Scotch Doubles tends to take even the best players out of their comfort zones. And the format is brutal; Single elimination, winner breaks with races to 8 in the first few rounds, then 9 in the quarters and semis, and race to 10 in the finals.

    The 2012 PARTYPOKER.NET World Cup of Pool begins Tuesday, September 4 and runs through Sunday, September 9 and will be held at Robinson’s Place Manila. Once again the total prize fund is US$250,000 with $60,000 going to the eventual champions. Tickets for the extravaganza will be available at the venue on the day of play but with plentiful balconies offering superb views of the playing arena, organisers are anticipating crowds in the thousands rather than hundreds.

    The 2012 PARTYPOKER.NET World Cup of Pool is sponsored by, the world's leading online poker school. Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis, Super Aramith balls by Saluc, tables by Diamond Billiards and the Official Cue is Predator. Changing The Face of The Game!

  2. #2

    By Ronnie Nathanielsz
    Wed, 05 Sep 2012

    Crowd favorites Efren “Bata” Reyes and Franisco “Django” Bustamante who make up the Philippines “B’ Team brought their A-game to the table this evening to whip Hong Long 8-3 in the PartyPoker. Net “World Cup of Pool” at Robinson’s in Manila and set up a mouth-watering showdown with Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan and John Morra of Canada on Thursday.

    Reyes played some magical shots while Bustamante pocketed the balls with precision against Lee Chenmen and Kenny Kwok who didn’t play badly but unfortunately ran into the two-time winners of this event on a good night.

    Bustamante told the Manila Standard on the eve of the tournament that he and his longtime buddy Reyes had been practicing well and that Reyes was making some remarkable shots which he effectively repeated before a huge crowd that jumped to its feet with a roar once the 9-ball was pocketed.

    Hong Kong won the lag before play was held up as someone in the audience using a flash bothered Reyes before referee Nigel Rees issued a warning to spectators not to use a flash when taking pictures.

    Reyes cooled down and the Filipinos took the opening rack before an excellent safety by Reyes enabled them to go ahead 2-0 before Reyes scratched on the break and Hong Kong pulled one back to make it 2-1.

    Another remarkable safety by Reyes paved the way for a 3-1 lead before Bustamante sank three balls on the break and Reyes played another fantastic safety and after Kwok missed a shot on the 2-ball the Philippine “B” team with ball in hand raced to a 4-1 lead.

    Reyes followed with a great bank shot on the 2, then played another superb safety and a exquisite cut shot by Bustamante sent the Filipinos up by a comfortable 5-1 margin.

    Hong Kong claimed a second rack after a dry break by Bustamante to make it 5-2 before Lee Chenman missed a 6-9 combination that allowed the Philippines to open up a four rack lead at 6-2.

    Time pressure after a Bustamante push-out and Reyes’ incredible cue ball control pushed the Philippines on the hill 7-2. A miss by Reyes on a long shot on the 1-ball enabled Hong Kong to pull another rack back at 7-3 but when Lee Chenmen came up dry on his break a near flawless cross bank shot on the 1-ball by Reyes sealed the deal and sent the Philippines “B’ Team into the next round when they face a tough Canadian pair of Pagulayan who plays for Canada alongside talented John Morra.

    Earlier, Matchroom Sport executive Luke Riches reported on two dramatic hill-hill matches.

    First the Canadian team of transplanted Filipino Alex Pagulayan and John Morra snatched it out the bag against Sweden and the USA, trailing throughout against India reversed the arrears in the home stretch to steal the win.

    It was Raj Hundal and Amar Kang who looked a steady ship as they came in as under dogs against their more titled opponents. They lead 1-0, 2-1, 4-2 and 5-4 before the US pair took stock of the situation and shot into a 6-5 lead.

    Morris thought he had put his team on the hill with a golden break but looked crestfallen when the referee Nigel Rees ruled it a foul break when the requisite number of balls failed to cross the head string. Both sides had chances at the final 9 before Kang downed it to level things.

    Both teams then had disastrous breaks; Van Boening delivered a dry one and India cleared, and then Kang downed two balls but the third didn’t play ball and the Americans took the rack for hill-hill.

    India had a chance but in the end it was a missed 3 ball from Hundal that proved their undoing and the American pair won and now face Austria in the next round.

    The Swedish pair of Marcus Chamat and Andreas Gerwen were similar victims as they succumbed at the final hurdle to Canada’s John Morra and Alex Pagulayan – the 2004 World Pool Champion.

    The Swedes trailed 7-4 and looked in dire straits but clawed their way back and even included a Chamat golden break!

    At 7-7 and breaking they were suddenly favorites but the rack descended into a safety battle before the Canadians found a way through and ran out for victory. Changing The Face of The Game!

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