ARTICLE BY LITO DELOS REYES
Photos courtesy of Rolly Baron
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The pair of Filipino rising billiard stars Jeffrey de “The Bull” Luna and Jeffrey “The Street Fighter” Ignacio defeated the early-favorite duo of 3-time world champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany and John Morra of Canada, 11-6 to bag the doubles title in the MP Cup Gensan Tuna Festival International Open 10 Ball tournament last Friday night at the SM Gensan in General Santos City.
The young Filipinos started with a 3-0 lead in their race-to-11 championship match witnessed by a huge crowd. But their foreign rivals answered with back-to-back wins in the next two racks, 3-2. But De Luna, 29 and Ignacio, 22, formerly ranked no. 24 and 19, respectively by the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPBA) regained their momentum to earn a comfortable 9-5 lead. Hohmann and Morra then made a clean-up in the next rack to cut their deficit, 9-6. But that was already their final score as the Filipinos once again displayed their tremendous combination of superb defensive and relentless offensive attacks.
“We just stick to our game plan. He (Ignacio) was assigned to make the break and me for the next turn,” said de Luna, who made several hard jump shots and trick shots.
De Luna and Ignacio shared a whooping US$40,000 cash prize with trophies awarded by Saranggani Province Congressman and main sponsor Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and GenSan City Mayor Ronel Rivera. It was the biggest purse for both Filipinos, who had to oust legendary stars Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante, 11-8 in the semi-finals to face the early qualified team of Hohmann and Morra.
“It was sweeter because I had avenged my early loss to him (Hohmanm) in the 2013 World 9-ball quarterfinals in Doha, Qatar” said De Luna. It was the first tandem of De Luna and Ignacio in a tournament.
“He (De Luna) has been bringing me already in singles tournament including outside the country to play,” said Ignacio, who thanked De Luna for sponsoring him.
De Luna, on the other hand, said that he saw the potential and skills in Ignacio to become a world champion.
“I saw the potential and talent on him aside from being a good person. That’s why I’m helping and giving him a break,” de Luna said.
Hohmann and Morra, on the other hand, earlier defeated the brothers Ko Pin Yi and Ko Pin Chung, 11-9 of Chinese Taipei in the other semifinal match. De Luna and Ignacio also earlier survived against the veteran tandem of former Asian Games champions Ramil Gallego and Antonio Lining, 11-10 in the quarterfinals.
Hohmann and Morra shared the US$18,000 prize while the Ko brothers and the popular duo of Reyes and Bustamante both went home with US$7,000. Gallego and Lining shared the 5th to 7th places with the pairs of Lauro Bongay-Napoleon Labrador and Robert Gomez-Warren Kiamco and both earned US$3,000.
The 8th to 16th placers, who each got US$2,000 were Roel Esquillo-Romeo Silvano, Fu Chu Wei-Chang Ju Lu, Ronnie Alcano-Manny Pacquiao, Sukari Yun-Chung Lon, Dondon Razalan-Warren Menguito,Chezka Centeno-Jeffrey Roda, Horace Angor-Emilio Martinez and Ga Young Kim-Kwon.
Pacquiao thanked all the players and supporters for making the 12-day event a huge success. He plans to hold the next international billiard event in December. – LITO DELOS REYES
ARTICLE BY LITO DELOS REYES