Pinoys in World 9 Ball down to five

Bata, Orcullo through; Django, Alcano out

There are now only five Filipinos left to carry the fight at the World 9 Ball Championship in Doha, Qatar after eight were sent packing in the Round of 64.

Two-time world champ Ronnie Alcano was the victim of friendly fire as he was dropped by fellow Filipino Janno Mazon. The 36-year old former Guinness World Series of Pool Champ withstood a fierce comeback and held on to win 11-9. Alcano was the runner-up in last year's event. Mazon next faces Konstantin Stepanov of Russia.

The last Filipino to win the 9 Ball world title is also done. Francisco Bustamante was outplayed by Chao Fong Pang, a former two-time world 9 Ball champ, 11-6.

While not a household name yet, BSCP national champion Carlo Biado was tipped by many to challenge for his first world title. He will have to wait til next year as he lost a hill-hill battle to the very capable Naoyuki Oi of Japan.

Zamboanga's Roberto Gomez was another casualty, being blown out by China's Liu Haitao 11-4. Israel Rota, Joven Alba, Marlon Caneda, and Elvis Calasang were the other Filpinos eliminated.

But it was not all bad news for the Philippines. Efren Reyes dispatched Toh Lian Han of Singapore 11-6 to set up a round-of-32 clash with Dominic Jentsch of Germany. Lee Van Corteza also coasts into the next stage thanks to an 11-4 demolition of Belgium's Serge Das. Corteza next faces Finland's Mika Immonen in what promises to be the marquee matchup of the second knockout stage. Former 8 Ball world champ Dennis Orcullo is also comfortably through after showing the door to the determined Hong Konger, Andrew Kong. It was Kong who sent Orcullo to the loser's bracket in their group stage encounter. The Surigaonon nicknamed Robocop has now exacted his revenge and next squares off against Hsu Kai Lun of Chinese Taipei. Antonio Gabica is also safely through. He bundled out Austria's Mario He, 11-7.

Other notables also survived the upset axe, like England's Darren Appleton. The former world 10 ball and U.S. Open champ was too much for Poland's Mateusz Sniegocki. The Yorkshireman ran out an 11-5 winner. Germany's Ralf Souquet also booked his slot in the next round by trouncing Nikolaos Malaj of Albania, 11-4. Chinese Taipei's Ko Pin Yi outsteadied Holland's former 10 Ball champ Huidji See 11-6.  Defending champion Yukio Akagariyama of Japan is on course to repeat thanks to an 11-9 triumph over Thomas Engert of Germany. Another German, Thorsten Hohmann, also punched his ticket to the round of 32 with an easy 11-4 victory over Bader Al Awadi. With an 11-2 rout over Joven Alba, Chang Jung Lin of Chinese Taipei is also through.

The Cinderella story of this year's event has to be New Zealand's Matthew Edwards. The Kiwi had earlier defeated American ace Shane Van Boening in the group stage. His 11-7 win over Toru Kuribayashi of Japan means he is still in the hunt.

The 9 Ball world championship concludes on Friday with the champion taking home US$40,000.

For more info, follow Ted Lerner on Twitter at @poolwpa. To watch the matches on live streaming, click on http://shoof.alkass.net/shoof/?live=3.

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