Six Filipino cue masters scored first-round victories in the prestigious 2014 World 9-Ball Championships being held at the Al Saad Sports Club in Doha, Qatar.
Last year’s runner-up Antonio Gabica led the charge of the Filipinos as he beat Kuo Po Cheng of Taiwan, 9-5, for his first win in Group 4.
Reigning World 10-Ball champion Dennis Orcollo, on the other hand, survived Jason Klatt of Canada, 9-8, in Group 7.
Warren Kiamco, Carlo Biado, Elvis Calasang and Raymund Faraon also triumphed in their Group Stage games.
Kiamco toppled Stephan Cohen of France, 9-7, in Group 6; Biado blasted Nour Wasfi Al Jarrah of Jordan, 9-3, in Group 8; Calasang outclassed Marzen Berjaoui of Lebanon, 9-3, in Group 10; and Faraon outplayed Denis Grabe of Estonia, 9-8, in Group 9.
Former world champion Efren “Bata” Reyes, Ramil Gallego and Francisco Felicilda were not as lucky and were relegated to the losers’ side.
Reyes bowed to Jeong Young Hwa of South Korea, 5-9, in Group 9; Gallego succumbed to Nick Van Den Berg of the Netherlands, 7-9, in Group 4; and Felicilda was beaten by Nguyen Anh Tuan of Vietnam, 6-9, in Group 12.
The top four players in each group after the double-elimination round will advance to the knockout stage.
Some $200,000 in cash prize awaits the winners of the tournament sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiard Association. The champion gets $30,000 ang the runner-up takes home $15,000.