It was an excellent day for the Philippines, which sent five players in the knockout stage of the 2015 World 9-Ball Championship being held in Doha, Qatar.
With the absence this year of legends Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante, Filipino overseas workers in Qatar haven’t turned out in quite the numbers that they have in the past to watch their fellow countrymen do battle.
Still, Filipino fans are starting to warm up to the superb talents that are clearly ready to take their own place on the big stage.
Dennis Orcollo has won tournaments around the globe, and is a threat to win any event he enters. Orcollo faced a stingy opponent in Hosain Sayeem from Bangladesh, but overcame several errors to cruise, 9-6.
Carlo Biado, another highly touted Filipino, has been knocking on the door of big time success for two years now. Biado looked impressive in his 9 – 5 win over Italy’s Daniele Corrieri.
Two young guns from the Philippines who aren’t that well known to local Pinoys, but very well could be in the coming days, are Jeffrey Ignacio and Raymond Faraon. Both youngsters possess scary-good games and they showed it today as they advanced with solid wins.
Easily the most popular Filipino at the moment in Qatar is veteran Antonio Gabica. The superbly talented Gabica moved to Qatar several years ago and works as a coach for the Qatar national pool team. Two years ago Gabica electrified both local Filipinos and Qataris when he made an incredible march to the finals, only to fall short to eventual championThorsten Hohmann. Gabica won his second straight match today to advance to the Final 64.
China and Taiwan each saw four of their players advance to the knockout rounds.
It’s been ten years since China’s Wu Jia Qing, then known as Wu Chia Ching and playing for Taiwan, stunned the pool world by winning the World 9-ball Championship at just 16 years old. Wu grabbed a spot in the final 64 today, easily defeating one of the Philippines best-unknown players, Oliver Medenilla, 9-2.