Eight Filipino cue masters earned spots in the knockout stage of the 2016 Kuwait Open 9-Ball Championship being held at the Al Ardiya Youth Center in Kuwait City.
Veterans Warren Kiamco, Lee Van Corteza, Alex Pagulayan and Carlo Biado posted two straight victories in their respective groups of the tournament, which offers a total prize fund of $275,000 with a whopping $50,000 to the champion and $25,000 to the runner-up.
Kiamco outplayed Mario He of Austria (9-7) and Liu Haitao of China (9-7) in Group 8; Corteza blasted Mark Gray of Great Britain (9-5) and Hsieh Chia Chen of Taiwan (9-1) in Group 9; Pagulayan whipped Bouchaib Farhat of Morocco (9-3) and Shaun Wilkie of the US (9-8) in Group 13; and Biado trounced Ong Zhao Chieng of Singapore (9-3) and Takenaka Hirishi of Japan (9-5) in Group 14.
Also claiming berths in the main draw are Allan Cuartero, Oliver Medenilla, William Millares and James Aranas Zoren.
Cuartero toppled Abdulla Falah of Saudi Arabia, 9-3, and Cheng Yu Hsuan of Taiwan Chinese-Taipei, 9-6, in Group 1 while Medenilla outclassed So Shaw of Great Britain, 9-3, and Han Hao Xiang of China, 9-2, in Group 4.
Millares stunned Rodney Morris of the US, 9-5, and compatriot Johann Chua, 9-5, in Group 10 while Zoren scored an easy 9-2 win over Mohamed Chakid Raousti of Algeria then shocked former world champion Wu Jiaqin of China, 9-7, in Group 16.
Chua was relegated to the losers’ bracket along with Dennis Orcollo, Payual Valeriano, Anthony Raga, Ricky Boy Godez, Jeffrey Ignacio, Richard Alinsub, Elmer Haya and Edwin Gamas, who all scored 1-1 in their respective groups.
The Top 4 players in the group stage will advance to the knockout stage.