9 more Pinoys enter Kuwait Open 9-Ball main draw

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Nine more Filipinos advanced to the main draw of the 2016 Kuwait Open 9-Ball Champ­ionship being held at the Al Ardiya Youth Center in Kuwait City.

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Veteran campaigners Jeffrey De Luna, Raymund Faraon and Jeffrey Ignacio led the surge of the Philippines after scoring victories in their respective do-or-die games.

De Luna stunned European champion Nick Van Den Berg of the Netherlands (9-5) in Group 3 while Faraon hurdled past Joshua Filler of Germany (9-8) in Group 6 and Ignacio nipped Omar Al Shaheen of Kuwait (9-6) in Group 7.

Also earning slots in the knockout stage are Mark Anthony, Anthony Raga, Payual Valeriano, Jundel Mazon, Roland Garcia and Edwin Gamas.

Anthony defeated Aref Ali Awadhi of Kuwait (9-5) in Group 1; Raga shocked former world champion Mika Immonen of Finland (9-8) in Group 2; Valeriano routed Tareq Al Mulla of Kuwait (9-1) in Group 4; Mazon toppled Marcus Chamat of Sweden (9-2) in Group 12; Garcia beat Shaun Wilkie of the US (9-4) in Group 13 and Gamas ousted Ong Zhao Chieng of Singapore (9-5) in Group 14.

Overall, there are 17 Filipinos in the 64-man main draw of the tournament, which offers $50,000 to the champion and $25,000 to the runner-up.

Warren Kiamco, Lee Van Corteza, Alex Pagulayan, Carlo Biado, Allan Cuartero, Oliver Medenilla, William Millares and James Aranas Zoren went undefeated in their respective groups to secure berths in the next round.

Not as lucky were former world champion Dennis Orcollo, Ricky Boy Godez, Johann Chua, Elmer Haya and Tommy Dato-on, who were booted out of contention.

Orcollo lost to Mario He of Austria (8-9), Godez succumbed to Radislaw Babica of Poland (7-9), Chua was beaten by Wojciech Szewczyk of Poland (4-9), Haya absorbed a 4-9 decision to Mark Gray of Great Britain and Dato-on fell to Liu Haitao of China (6-9).

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