Pinoy Billiards Pair Commands the Day

There was double joy for Pinoy billiard hopefuls Marlon Manalo and Jeff De Luna as they both battled their way through to the last 64 of the 2007 Philippines World Pool Championship with two wins from two matches.
With four more groups playing double elimination qualifying games today at the Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, a further 16 players will secure spots in round two while the other 16 will depart the competition.
Manalo, of Mandaluyong City, Manila looked to be in total control as he led Li He-wen of China 8-3 but a missed ball in the 12th game let Li, a semi-finalist here last year, back to the table.
Li, who earlier this year was a World Cup of Pool winner, proceeded to run out the racks as he slowly silenced the pro-Manalo crowd. With the score at 7-8, Li ran slightly out of position and attempted a risky pot on the 3 ball as he was forced to hit down on the cue ball to swerve it.
He missed and left it sitting nicely for Manalo, who cleared the table to secure victory. Li He-wen now plays Earl Strickland in a final eliminator on Table 1.
On Table 2, Jeff De Luna, who reached the last 16 of this competition in 2006 on his WPC debut, looked like he has the game to go even better this year as he gave Fu Che-wei of Chinese Taipei, something of a drubbing.
Fu, who was a bronze medalist at this tournament last year, found himself 8-0 down in no time at all, and although he mounted a comeback, the gulf was too wide to bridge as he lost 9-3. De Luna can now look forward a mouth-watering last 64 match-up with fellow Filipino star Lee Van Corteza.
There were two tremendous performances from the Australian duo of Louis Condo and James Delahunty as both advanced with a brace of victories against high class opposition.
Condo, the 32 year-old from Melbourne, is playing in his sixth World Championship so he has plenty of experience at this level and he drew on it as he defeated highly rated Englishman Imran Majid 9-5 to advance to the winners’ side of the bracket.
In his next match he went even better as he recorded a comfortable 9-4 victory over 2005 World Pool Championship runner-up Kuo Po-cheng of Chinese Tapei.
Countryman James Delahunty, making his debut in the competition, looked good in beating 2006 Mosconi Cup player Mike Davis of the USA 9-5 and then defeated seasoned pro Ronnie Wiseman of Canada in a 9-8 thriller.
Delahunty, 24, from Adelaide can now look forward to a day off before he resumes the competition in the last 64 straight knock-out.