By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Sun, 16 Sep 2012

Dennis Orcollo who is regarded as one of the Philippines' top players and among the world’s best in pool has won the China Open Finals beating Taiwan’s 31 year old Lu Hui Chan 11-9 on Sunday afternoon at the Shanhai Pudong Yuanshen Stadium.

Orcollo’s manager, billiard enthusiast and longtime supporter of the sport, said it was a tough match but the skilled Filipino pulled through to pocket the top prize of $40,000.

Orcollo faced Taiwan’s hotshot Chang Yu Lung in the first semi finals and although the Taiwanese raced to a 2-0 lead, Orcollo clawed back to even the score at 4-4.

Sportswriter Ted Lerner reported that Orcollo then took the next rack for a lead he would not relinquish.

Lerner said “The Filipino, though, had to scratch and claw all the way to the end. Orcollo pushed the score to 7-5, then 8-6, and got to within the finish line at 10-7. Chang wasn’t going away easy, however. When Orcollo missed a bank on the 2-ball, Chang cleared to make the score 10-8. In the next frame Chang hit a 1-9 combo to quickly pull within one.”

Tension began to weigh heavily on Orcollo who was forced to play a push-out after his break before Chang gave Orcollo a chance who held his nerve to win a place in the finals for the top prize of $40,000.

Lerner quoted Orcollo who said “I was so nervous today, but I just tried to calm down and enjoy the game. Chang is a great player and he played good today. I have a lot of experience playing on the TV table and I’ve had a lot of tough matches this week so this helps me with the pressure. For the final I just need to relax, wait for my chances and be aggressive when I find an opening.”

Lu had earlier beaten 2011 World 9-ball Champion, Yukio Akakagariyama of Japan. Both players committed numerous errors during the first half of the match with Lu continuing to hold a slim lead throughout. Down 8-6, Akakagariyama stepped on the gas and won three straight to get his first lead at 9-8. Lu then grabbed the next two to go up 10-9. A break and run by Yukio sent the match into a sudden death decider which Lu won.

In a cauldron of nerves and tension, Lu, who came in third here two years ago, got a ball down on the break. He cleared to the 5-ball, but over hit the cue and had terribly difficult position. He chose a tricky cut and made it, along with the 7 ball by accident. That left the table open and Lu ran out for the victory.