Day Three: A Battle of titans
The rivalry between Ralf Souquet of Germany and Dennis Orcullo of the Philippines was rekindled on the third day of the Philippine Open Pool Championships with fans and pool experts anticipating a battle royale betwen two of the best players in the sport.
It turned out to be an all-Souquet show.
Facing the player who defeated him in the 2009 Predator Ten Ball Championship in Las Vegas, the German ace kept Orcullo sitting on his stool for most of the match and hammered out a surprisingly easy 9-2 win on Saturday night at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.
Souquet’s domination of the match wasn’t foreseen, especially when the former World 8-Ball and 9-Ball champion made known in public that he was feeling uncomfortable as he was coming off shoulder and back injuries.
“There are these games when you feel like you have some sort of a momentum. I ran out four or five straight racks and my thinking from there was to keep Orcullo on his seat,” said Souquet.
But on this day, neither injury nor Orcullo’s presence could stop Souquet, who was able to break the game wide open starting on the sixth rack, as he recorded five straight runouts.
Asked if he had special preparation for the match, the former double-world champion had a simple explanation.
“Every time you play Orcullo, you have to bring your A-grade game,” said Souquet. “There’s no special preparation for this match. I just played my best tonight.”
Souquet’s victory sent him to the last 16 of this World Pool-Billiard Association tournament that offers $30,000 to the champion.
The loss sent Orcullo to the loser’s bracket. He will face the surprisingly formidable Al Yousuf of Kuwait, who will seek to add the reigning World 8-Ball champion to his growing list of Filipino victims. He has beaten former world 9-ball champion Ronnie Alcano and Jerico Banares, the conqueror of Mika Immonen in this tournament.
Souquet will next face an equally dangerous player in former World Ten Ball champion Darren Appleton of Great Britain in their last 16 match in the winner’s bracket.
Filipino players Lee Van Corteza and Antonio Lining also kept themselves in the winner’s side after completing contrasting victories over their rivals.
Corteza won over a crack Taiwanese opponent, Chang Jun Lin, 9-6, while Lining scuttled countryman Jundel Mazon, 9-4. It was the first loss of Mazon, a player who earned a spot in the Stage 2 of this event via the qualifying tournament.
Lining and Corteza, however, find themselves in a head-on collision for a quarterfinal seat when they square off Sunday. Mazon was relegated to the loser’s bracket where he plays Chang.
Other players in the last 16 of this event are Liu Haitao of China, Takhti Zarekani of Iran, Marcus Chamat of Sweden and Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, who are all in the winner’s side.
Orcullo and Mazon head the cast in the loser’s side of the last 16 and they will be joined by Hwang Yong of Korea, Fu Che-Wei of Chinese Taipei, Jason Klatt of Canada, Ricky Yang of Indonesia, and Carlo Biado of the Philippines.