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“I am very happy and honored to join Team Asia. Especially due to the fact that this is a first time battle, I believe that it makes everything even more exciting!”, said the World #1 Ko Pin Yi. He adds, “With the tournament being arranged in the Philippines, I know there are many pool sports fans. I am always touched by their friendliness and support.”
Having won his second World Championship within the same calendar year is a feat less than a handful have been able to do in modern memory. Ko Pin Yi won just weeks ago at the World 9-Ball Championship in Qatar, and then won the World 10-Ball in the Philippines earlier in the year. In his teens, he also won the World Junior Championships in Germany and the United States, giving him the distinction of being the only 4 time World Champion who has won in 4 different countries and 3 different continents.
“I’m happy to hear Ko Pin Yi is on Team East. You got to have the current best playing pro in the world in the Kings Cup”, said an up for the challenge Mika Immonen, Captain of Team West.
“Ko is a really good pool player, and good person. Though we may speak a different language, I know that it won’t hinder the team’s performance. Having Ko in the team, who is now the World Champion for 9-Ball and 10-Ball, is really a big advantage for us”, explained Francisco “Django” Bustamante on his prediction of Team Asia’s chemistry.
“When I told other players that I will join Team Asia in the Kings Cup, and our captain is Efren Reyes, they all said “ wow. How lucky you are! “ . And yes, I also can feel that they envy my good luck. In Taiwan, Efren Reyes is a legend, we really like him very much. I like to watch Efren and Bustamante on Youtube because their bank shot skills are amazing. So I really appreciated the invitation to play with both Filipino champions!”, explained Ko Pin Yi.
Complicating the situation further for Team West, Ko’s younger brother Ko Ping Chung will be the fourth man on Asia. “Little Ko” is currently ranked #8 in the world, well ahead of most of the western champions. He made it to the semi-finals twice of both world championships that his brother won. And already won a pro title in the USA last year. Which means he has youth on his side and nowhere near slowing down in his imporvements. The X factor is the chemistry. It’s probably a good bet these two will play very well together.
“He is knocking on the door to win some serious majors. What a tag team these two are going to be. No fear. No respect,”, said Immonen with a chuckle.
“This is not the first time I will play together with my brother. We have been a team together in the World Cup of Pool and finished 3rd place. I always think that we could perform better, I was too nervous at that time. Now I am more than happy as it is an honor to be invited to play in the King’s Cup. I am so looking forward to be on a team with my brother again, and this time I will be ready and I will do my best, I hope I won’t let him down,” said Ko Ping Chung.
With Ko Ping Chung also winning a World Junior Championships, this makes all four teammates of Team Asia a team of World Champions.
Mika added, “When I first heard the news of the Ko brothers joining Efren and Django…I was like, ‘Wow. (whistles) .
“Now that’s a team.”