Double world champion Ronnie Alcano and veteran campaigners Francisco “Django" Bustamante and Marlon Manalo continued the Filipinos’ assault in the World 9-Ball Pool Championship in Doha, Qatar.
Several unheralded compatriots joined them and also booked seats in the round-of-16 of this prestigious tournament Sunday.
Alcano, who won the 2006 World 9-Ball and 2007 World 8-Ball crowns, subdued a crack round-of-32 rival in Dang Jinhu of China, 11-7, to lead the march of Pinoys to the last 16.
Bustamante had to endure a younger, yet equally tougher opponent, in two-time World Junior champion Ko Pin Yi of Chinese Taipei, 11-8.
Manalo, a former Asian Snooker champion, upstaged ex-US Open champion Shane Van Boening of the United States, 11-7.
Several other Filipino bets – Antonio Lining, Francisco Felicilda, Raymond Faraon and Oliver Medenilla – also advanced to the next round.
Lining, who spent the previous years campaigning in Japan where he also worked as a translator, defeated Nguyen Long of Vietnam, 11-6.
But the biggest surprise on the Philippines’ campaign in this $250,000-rich tournament sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiards Association, was the continued surge of virtually unknown players like Felicilda, Faraon and Medenilla.
Felicilda stunned compatriot Jeff de Luna in a hill-hill encounter, 11-10; Faraon nipped Scott Higgins of Great Britain, 11-10; and Medenilla outlasted Nitiwat Kanjanasri of Thailand, 11-9.
Perry Mariano, who manages the career of Alcano, sees a strong chance for the Philippines’ bid of producing a new world male champion. But he’s betting on either Alcano or Bustamante to vie for the championship.
“We have a big chance of producing a world champion, but it should be anyone from Django or Ronnie, who should be there competing in the finals. We need somebody who’s more experienced to carry us to the championship round," said Mariano, one of the co-founding officers of the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP).
The last cue artist who won the world championship for the Philippines was Filipina Rubilen Amit, who pocketed the inaugural World Women’s 10-Ball Championship held in Manila last year.
The last male Filipino player to win the world title was Alcano, who ruled the 2007 World 8-Ball Championship in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.
_________________2009-2010 MVP JAMES "THE MAN WITH A MILLION MOVES" YAP