Former Billiards Champ Wu Knocked Out
Joven Bustamante, one of the unsung dangermen of Filipino pool, eased his way into the last 16 of the 2007 Philippines World Pool Championship at the expense of 2005 Champion Wu Chia-ching of Taiwan at the Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Manila.
The 29 year-old Bustamante is making his debut in the competition but a bronze medal at the WPA World 8-Ball Championship earlier this year gives an idea of his pedigree.
Playing out of the same Bugsy’s stable as the likes of Ronnie Alcano, Dennis Orcollo and Antonio Gabica, the placid-looking Bustamante looked calm in his TV arena debut as he moved into an early 4-2 lead in front of a packed arena.
With the winner’s break format making table possession twice as valuable, Wu made a critical error at in the next as he failed to connect at all with the 1 ball while attempting a thin cut and with ball-in-hand and an open table, Bustamante looked set to increase his lead.
He too though made an unforced error as he left himself in the jaws of the centre pocket, unable to reach the green 6 without kicking. His attempt wasn’t good enough and Wu mopped up to reduce the deficit to a single rack.
The next racked looked a certainty for Wu but he badly ran out of position with just the 7 and 9 left on the table. He missed the pot and then missed it again following a weak safety from Bustamante and the Filipino held his nerve to increase his lead to 5-3.
Neither player was at their best as the game became a little scrappy at times and they shared the next two racks before Wu composed himself to take the 11th rack and position himself on Bustamante�s coat tails at 6-5.
Befitting his World Champion status, Wu looked much better in the next as he ran the rack comfortably to tie the scores up at 6-6.
A great break from Wu saw three balls drop but he had no clear shot on the 2 ball so elected to push out. Bustamante missed the tempter on the long 2 and Wu grabbed the opportunity to take the lead for the first time at 7-6.
The 2005 World Champion though scratched off his break shot in the next. Perhaps feeling the pressure in his first game on the TV table, Bustamante slightly ran out of position going from the 2 to 4 balls and missed the resulting pot.
Wu though, missed it too as he had to give the cue ball a touch of swerve. Bustamante made no mistakes from there as he cleared to restore parity.
Bustamante ran out the next rack from the break to take the lead at 8-7 and then tied Wu up in snooker in the 16th game. Wu escaped but left the two ball hanging over the centre pocket and Bustamante ran out to reach the hill.
The Filipino messed up on a 2/4 combination to throw Wu a lifeline which he gratefully accepted to give himself a chance.
Bustamante got back to the table in the next and he played what was the match-winning shot as he played a brave and very difficult long cut on the 2 ball, split up a cluster and gained perfect shape on the 3 ball to set up the victorious run out.
It was my first time on the TV table and playing front of loyal fans put immense pressure on me and I wasn’t sure if I could deliver, said Bustamante in his post-match press conference.
The balls soon started falling my way and that boosted my confidence. I had some butterflies before my matches but my confidence is soaring and I feel I can go all the way to championship.
With (Efren) Reyes and Ronnie (Alcano) out, there is more pressure on the young players but now that pressure has doubled but we�ll try out best, he added.
In the other early matches in the Last 32, there was mixed fortunes for the German players as Oliver Ortmann lost 10-7 against Kuo Po-cheng but Harald Stolka recorded a surprise 10-2 triumph over Wu Yu-lun.
Alain Martel (Canada) and Satoshi Kawabata (Japan) were also winners with Martel defeating Goran Mladenovic 10-2 and Kawabata clinching a 10-3 success over Luong Chi Dung of Vietnam.