Pool School in Jacksonville

Had a lot of fun teaching along side Tony Robles, Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante at Top Hat Billiards in my home town Jacksonville, Florida. It was a little tough at some points getting through the day because I was still affected by my stomach virus, but I am sure it was very instructive at times for our students :-P and everybody including the instructors were having a good time !

As promised we"The Dome-Gang (Dan, Deirdre, 8-Ball, Sandy, Honey and Toasti)" was hosting a BBQ party on Wednesday evening for all participants of the Pool School. We made sure to get a taste of different cultures (German beer, Filipino Adobo and good old Hot Dogs) for general pleasure.


Rough night

The International 10-Ball Championship here in Vegas has just begun and on the first day I ran into some unusual problems...

It started with some abdominal pain and body ache in the morning...

After a bye as a seeded player I had a good match against Matt Krah late in the evening of the 13th and beat him 10:1. He seemed to have trouble finding his game at all and I only made a couple errors.

I returned to my room, ordered some room service food and tried to fall asleep. Suddenly I got cramps in my belly, started shaking like a palm tree during a hurricane in Florida and my overall condition wasn't really the greatest.

I rushed to the Emergency Room here at Sunrise Hospital in Vegas where I spent six hours from 3.30am till 9.30am. They did a lot of fun stuff to me during the night and the doctor diagnosed foodpoisoning or some sort of virus.

I had 103 degrees fever, but after the IV and some medication I am feeling much better now. I lost my next match against reigning World 9-Ball Champion Daryl Peach with 7:10 that evening. We both made a lot of mistakes and I really had enough chances to beat him. The loosers bracket is full with players who all could win this tournament. Souquet, Reyes, Immonen, Pagulayan, Archer, van Boening to just name a few.

I have one day off so it should give me some time to rest and recover.

Check out the official website with live scoring and even live coverage !


Mandaluyong Mayor's Cup

10-Ball has been getting more and more popular around the world. The Florida Pro Tour has adapted the fastest and been preferring this discipline over 9-Ball for several years in the Sunshine State already. Players including myself seem to like this advanced rotation game. Is 10-ball the pocket billard game of the future ?

The Philippines has realized the trend as well. Raya Sports and the Billiards & Snooker Congress Of The Philippines (BSCP) started a new 10-Ball tour (the Philippine 10-Ball Tour) which will feature stops in Puerto Princesa, Cebu City, Davao City, Subic-Olongapo, Clark-Angeles and Pasay City.

The President of Raya Sports Mr Yen Makabenta invited me to be part when the tour kicked off in Mandaluyong City, the heart of Metro Manila on May 6th...

We had a full field of 64 players including top guns like Johnny Archer, Satoshi Kawabata, Marlon Manalo, Jeff de Luna, Antonio Gabica and Leonardo Andam.

For the first four days the Mandaluyong City Hall served us as the host venue. The place was frequently visited by spectators and the event was very well organized.

My game got stronger with every match that I played. On the first day I beat Deleon B. Lopez from the Philippines with 9:2, on day number two R. Eborda from the Philippines with 9:3 and on the third day Gerry Watson from Canada with 9:4.

Let me add at this point that we were playing call-shot, which means I had to call the ball and the pocket before taking on the shot. A little new for me was that whenever a player made a ball unintentionally or didn't call it, the incoming player had the option to take over or give the table back to the opponent.

I rarely saw players stringing more than two racks together. Not like in 9-Ball when a four-, five- or sixpack is very common. 10-Ball seems to be a bit tougher and specially on the break you won't see the corner ball flying in all the time, like it happens in 9-Ball a lot. I start liking this game, but have to figure out the right break myself...

I continued with another win over K. Tuguchi from Japan with 9:5 and the dream match was set for the evening. Marlon versus Toasti

I started out very strong, using every opportunity given to me to jump out for a 5:0 lead over Marlon, who was born in Mandaluyong City and lives just down the road. Next he played a nice cross bank in the corner but had forgotten to call it. It was obvious to me that he intended to go for the shot, so I told the referee to let Marlon continue. And the momentum changed...

Next thing I know I was trailing 5:6 and I didn't get any rolls in the end. At hill-hill I broke, but failed to make a ball. Marlon played a safe on the 3ball. I kicked at it to combo another ball in, but unfortunately left him a very easy combo to start his run-out. It could have ended up in an awkward position for him easily but it wasn't the case and Marlon cleared the table.

The following day we tranferred across the street to the Kaban ng Hiyas Auditorium, a city hall that looks like it was build for a pool tournament, beautiful ! With only one table and six players left all matches from now were shown live on Philippine national television.

My quarterfinal match against Filipino Junior Champion J Banares started out the worst possible. I just didn't get an easy layout to get used to the fast slippery table. Banares played perfect, I missed some safe opportunities and whoom... I was down 0:7 before I got my first real chance. I reduced the damage to a 4:9 defeat and spent the rest of the event as a spectator.

I watched the final match between Marlon Manalo and Antonio Gabica side by side with Mandaluyong's Mayor Benhur Abalos. The Mayor is a very energetic and charismatic person who watched the entire three-hour final match with only one short bathroom break. I had a very nice conversation with him. A person who loves horse-racing, motorbikes and has won several awards as an outstanding mayor who constantly fights poverty in his country. Hopefully we can involve the popularity of pool in the Philippines to help him with some of his projects. He has won me as an admirer...

The final was one-sided in the beginning. Gabica dominated the first few racks, receiving all the layouts and showing no flaws, until Marlon had his chances to catch up but made some uncharacteristic mistakes. Gabica showed a great performance as he broke and ran the three final racks to win 13:8.

The next tour-stop will be in June in beautiful Puerto Princesa in Palawan. I hope I can come back more often and play in as many 10-Ball events in the Philippines as possible !


Korea Pro Tour Championships

The tournament took place at the Ambassador Hotel in Doksan, Seoul. Top players of the event were Mike Davis, Raj Hundal, Charlie Williams, Hiroshi Takenaka as well as some new players from the Philippines.

Had a good match to get into the single elimination stage against Go Takami from Japan. At a score of 8:7 in a race to 9 I played a safetie on the 8-Ball. He came with a great "Efren-Shot" to take the rack and the match down...

After a solid performance on the looser side the tournament format brought me Go Takami again. This time I was able to string a few racks together and establish a lead which allowed me a 10:5 win.

The quarter final against Takenaka was a head to head race from the start. At 7:7 I had a perfect break, the cueball stopped in the center of the table but unfortunately got kicked in the side pocket. Takenaka never looked back and broke and ran the last three racks to throw me out of the competition. Overall I was happy with my tournament here and a 5th place !

Mike Davis, who got in late due to his good result in Phoenix was put on the looser side, came all the way back to win the first place here in Korea.

The womens event was dominated by reigning World Champion Yuan Chung Lin from Taiwan.

Johnny Archer wins Desert Shoot Out

The story is short. I could not keep up the good performance and lost my next two matches against Oscar Dominguez and Cliff Joyner in two close matches.

Mika had a phenomenal tournament, beat every World Champion in the field, like Efren Reyes, Earl Strickland, Jose Parica and Johnny Archer to take the hot seat. But Johnny recovered and came back to beat the "Iceman" twice in the final. And I know why... FRUITLOOPS

Congratulations Johnny and Mika !