Manila here I come

I have been sitting here for three hours now. 20 minutes more to go and I will enjoy my emergency exit seat at the window of this huge monster plane.
There was a friendly woman at the Japan Airlines check in desk who coincidentally comes from the Philippines. After mentioning that I am best friends with Efren "Bata" Reyes she tagged my luggage as priority and gave me the best seat in the house upstairs (economy)

Just found out about my first match on th 5th. It's going to be aganist the talented kid from Taiwan Ko Pin-Yi who just won the third qualifier in Manila. Won't be an easy match.

Manila here I come...

Halloween morning

Well, I arrived at 9.50pm on Tuesday the 30th in Manila. The flight was long but not too bad. I had a connection in Tokio and was picked up by my friend Ernie right outside the plane in Manila. He is da man and everybody knows him at the airport !

Ernie skipped all the lines at the immigration desk, even the diplomat line (pool players should be treated like that all over the world ;-)

After having a late dinner with my friends Biboy and Marika I hit the sheets around 2am, but found myself awake at 6am in the morning again.

About an hour later downstairs, enjoying my breakfast I see three German fellows walking in armed with their cue cases. You can guess the answer of my question "Coming or going to practice?"

Thursday, 1st

Two more days to go before the tournament starts. More and more players are coming into the city. Most of the action happens at a poolroom called Oneside. Gambling around the clock, all the filipino stars are there, the place is packed. I have never been there before, but I might check it out myself one of these days. Sure, I will take some pictures...

I prefer the homie atmosphere like the poolroom Sidespin (former Ferrule). The place is small, very nice with new recovered tables. The people are very friendly and I feel comfortable here.

I spent a few hours practicing at the tight pocket table near the entrance and enjoyed great company with my friends Bogee and Biboy. Jay Helfert was there too. We played for an hour and had a nice chat. I will go there again tonight. Ralf Souquet and Thomas Engert have promised there appearance too.

Took me a while to update I know. I wasn't too happy with my performance. Gonna try to be more up to date in the future...

I didn't get out of the group stage. First time ever. I guess this tournament was symptomatic for my year.

Lost my first match against Ko Pin-Yi. He is 18years of age and a very promising Taiwanese player for the future. Very composed with great technique he didn't make too many errors against me. There are three Taiwanes juniors with great potential. Wu Chia Ching already became World Champion with 16. Another Wu, double Junior World Champion was supposed to be the best of the three but as usual he is the laziest of all. The Taiwanese coach sees in Ko Pin-Yi the star for the future. Well....he has my name on his belt already...

I played okay against Ko, but against I definately didn't get the rolls. A very early out turned me all to soon into a spectator.

Here are some impressions of the tournament...

I spent a lot of time at the venue, even after I was out. For most of the time I thought Bustamante is gonna make it. He seemed to be on a mission. He needed average two to three innings to finish a set to 10 or 11. I saw the controversial situation against Daryl Peach on tv and my first impression was foul. The score was 10:9 for Bustamante when Django broke, had a possible out but himself on the two ball. He kicked and kissed the 9 in. BUT - he hit the 9 first. It was the closest call I have ever seen. The referee Nigel watched the shot over and over again on tv. Finally he made the right decision - foul. Daryl Peach proved his mental strengh and cleared the table and the next rack to win the match.
Some people say he was not suppose to ask for the replay on tv and he should have made a decision right away. But I don't blame him. It was a very tough call and why not use the replay when the situation allows.
I feel sorry for Bustamante, he is overdue to win a title. Well he had his chance and somehow he always seem to lose in the quarterfinal or semifinal. Weird...

Great tournament for the Europeans. With Vilmos Foeldes, Karl Boyes and Daryl Peach three out of four players from Europe in the Semis - respect.

Daryl showed strong nerves. He had to fight 3000 Filipinos in the final. Eventually that is what cost Roberto Gomez the title. He was dominating all of his matches, won 10:1, 10:2, 11:0 and 11:4. The softbreak was working for him (One little comment on the softbreak - it's terrible for the spectators. I heard the tv ratings dropped because of that. It's just plain boring. I am sure next year Matchroom is going to do something against it) Gomez was facing a lot of new circumstances in the final. Matchroom replaced table one with table two, which meant the softbreak wasn't working anymore. Also Gomez never had a close match in the tournament, the final should be different. At the end Gomez was a broken man. You could tell by his bodylanguage that he had lost his confidence. The screaming and yelling spectators just intensified the pressure on him. That's why he missed a very easy Nineball when the score was 15:15.

After the event I got to hang out a few days with my friends here in Manila. We finally went to OneSide. Looks like nobody there know that I don't gamble, because as soon as I opened the door, I had ten guys jumping on me, ready to get some action...


US-Open 9-Ball Championship

The US-Open finally started for me too. I guess thank my UPA ranking I was seeded for the event and didn't have to play on Sunday. On top of that I caught one of the tournaments bye's which meant an extra day off. I don't know if it's good or bad skipping two rounds. Well, yeah - I'm two rounds advanced but also lost the opportunity to get used to the equipment and switch on the competition mode.

I'm sitting here near table one counting the spectators on a Tuesday evening. Pretty good in my opinion. I'm sure the convention center will be packed at the weekend.

Played my first match at 3pm against Paul Scarboro. It was one of those matches you don't really wanna talk about. I had problems with the speed of the rails and the break. Only made a ball once or twice and had only one run out. We are playing break from the box and maybe I should head over to Q-masters tomorrow to work on that.My confidence weakened during the game with the result that I missed a lot of easy shots. My opponent played some great safeties but could not take advantage of my bad play. I ended up beating him 11:5.

Again I have more then one day off. My next game is scheduled for 9pm tomorrow night against Lee Holt.

Mika lost yesterday double hill to Japans Naoyuki Oi . He now has something like 150 matches ahead of him to win the tournament, but he can do it. Rodney was down 2:8 and I am just witnessing an incredible comeback. 9:8 for the rocket.

The US-Open is probably the event every pool player dreams of winning besides the World Championship. It's still my dream too. Good when I think about it - to still have a big dream. But I want one of the green jackets. They are ugly but I want one :-)

Pretty much every country is present. The Filippinios with Francisco Bustamante, Efren Reyes, Jose Parica, Dennis Orcullo, Ronnie Alcano and Alex Pagulayan. The Europeans with Ralf Souquet, Daryl Peach, Niels Feijen, Mika Immonen, Marcus Chamat, Fabio Petroni and myself. America with Earl Strickland, Johnny Archer, Shane van Boening, Rodney Morris, Corey Deuel, etc... But I miss the great Taiwanese players like Shin Chun Yang, Wu Chia Ching, Fong Pang Chao or Pei Wei Chang. They would add some spice to the tournament.

Check back as I will add some news when time allows. Hope I won't have to much time as the tournament progresses...

Oh, Rodney just won...amazing !

Wednesday, 17th 2007 (late)

Well, I guess my extra training session at Q-Masters today has paid off. I played Lee Holt tonight and at least 350% better than yesterday. I still had trouble making balls on the break, but at least I didn't miss to many shots and made some nice tough run outs. Final score was 11:5 again.

The tournament continues for me tomorrow at 7pm with a re-match against Tyler Edey from Canada. He kicked me out of the World 9-Ball Championships last year in Manila so I should be prepared to play best.

Thursday, 18th (11pm)

Let's face it - I played terrible. I just didn't feel comfortable at all. He played better and deserved to beat me, even though I had my chances. Was down 4:8 and came back with two run-outs and a break nine to make it even 8:8. I was supposed to go up 9:8 but missed an easy shot on an open table. He then cleared from there and broke and ran the next to go on the hill. I had a chance but dogged an easy nine. Symptomatic for the match. Lost 8:11

Well, I will have to play again tonight. Or should I say tomorrow ? 12:30 (late) it's what it says on the score board. Of course I am a little disappointed but I will try my best to recover...


Decided to play at 11am instead. Gallego and Bollman still playing to determine my opponent...

Friday, 19th

I will keep it short. Ramil Gallego from the Philippines beat me bad - 6:11 ! He then continued his destruction by eliminating Francisco Bustamante, Mike Davis, Efren Reyes, Jose Parica and Corey Deuel. Great performance. Respect !

Winner side final tomorrow is going to be Shane van Boening versus Tomoki Mikari for the hotspot. Remaining players on the loser side: Ralf Souquet, Ronato Alcano, Ramil Gallego, Louis Ulrich and Dennis Orcullo.

Who will win ?

Sent from my iPhone


Marcus wins Mini-Tournament

Saturday noon we started our little warm up tournament at Amsterdam Billiards. I think we all got some good practice for the following week in Chesapeake. I am sure the spectators saw some fun matches. People showed up numerous and appreciated great shots with applause. It's always fun to play here...

Tournament organizer Rolando Avera had everything under control !

Marcus crushed us all, undefeated! Tony came in second. Tony, Mika and I had three wins versus two loses. Rodney and Raj have to put in some extra hours at qMasters before the Open...

Ride to Virginia

It took us two hours to get out of Manhattan. 9pm we made it through the Holland tunnel.

Raj and Rodney were listening to a comedy channel the whole ride. Each break the both would give us a little stand up improvisation for our entertainment...

We finally arrived at 3.30 am in Chesapeake. Glad the player meeting is at 4pm...


US-Open Warm-Up Tournament

To all pool fans in the New York area !

There is going to be a round robin "US-Open warm-up" tournament at Amsterdam Billiards on Saturday starting at noon. The game is 9-Ball !

The six players participating are:

Marcus Chamat (Sweden)
Thorsten Hohmann (Germany)
Tony Robles (New York City)
Rodney Morris (Hawaii)
Mika Immonen (Finland)
Raj Hundal (England)

Amsterdam Billiards owner Greg Hunt, Randy Goldwater and Joel Schapiro from New York City are adding 1500 $ to the mini-tournament. Fans are welcome !

Oh, by the way... afterwards we are all riding down in the same van to Virginia. Loser drives...


New York City

Let me give me you some impressions where I've been spending some time...

I like to go running along the Hudson River. The Riverbank State Park is just a few blocks away. Here you can play tennis, basketball, soccer, ice-skating, etc. They have an indoor olympic size swimming pool and for the fun an outdoor pool as well. No pool billiard tables though, but I was recognized once as a professional pool player by a bus driver who watches pool on tv. Isn't that cool....

I could consider myself as a Harlem Globetrotter. If you think my neighborhood is dangerous, you are wrong. Stop watching tv and play more pool.

World famous Amsterdam Billiards near Union Square. If you walk in this week you might find top players such as Tony Robles, Mika Immonen, Marcus Chamat, Rodney Morris and myself getting ready for the US-Open next week.

Oh, I found these shoes in Shoemania. Real Adidas....maybe I should send them my proposal for possible sponsorship. Don't you think they would look nice with my black trousers and dress shirt ?