Photos by Jamil Buergo
Manila, Philippines- The long anticipated Kings Cup started in a see-saw battle with both Asia and the West trading matches. But at the end of the day, it was Team West taking the mini-win for the day.
Never before have two teams been so stacked with skill and talent. The inaugural Resorts World Kings Cup will mark the first time Europe and USA join forces to face again the greatest players of the Asia with Philippines and Taiwan also joining forces for the very first time in history! European and American champions will go against Asia’s champions on November 19th at Resorts World Manila in the inaugural Kings Cup! In what surely will become the most epic rivalry in cue sports, the pool world is about to get rocked in a war that fans have been dreaming about for years. Dragon Promotions is pleased to produce the Kings Cup, a three day contest to declare which side of the world boasts the strongest players, the East or the West. On November 19th-21st 2015, the world, as well as the players themselves, will find out! Four players on each side have been selected to represent their continent. The Kings Cup will be hosted by the award winning casino Resorts World Manila , produced by Dragon Promotions and aired on ABS-CBN Sports Channels for 12 hours of coverage and replays. The event will be played on the beautifully designed Rasson Table using Andy Cloth, Viking Cue, Cyclop Balls while the players will wear prestigious clothing made by FA Clothing Company. Puyat Sports, Pool & Billiard Magazine, and Billiards Digest are also co-sponsors.
In the first 4-on-4, Team West seemed to fit in tandem right away with the 3 Europeans and lone American. Efren won the lag, and selected World #1 Ko Pin Yi to break, but he came up dry. Team West played a perfect runout to start the Kings Cup. They won the first match 5-2 with all matches racing to 5 and playing 10-Ball.
But it was the Ko brothers this time easily dismantling Mika Immonen and Shane Van Boening with a right back at ya 5-2 score.
“Little Ko” Ping Chung & Ko Pin Yi were crucial to keeping Asia in the mix.
Next came the premiere of Albin Ouschan, the Europe #1 alongside veteran champion Appleton. They were the underdogs against legendary duo of Reyes and Bustamante, but they played like the favorites. Reyes missed open shots in key games. West took the match in an easy 5-2.
The reigning World 10-Ball Champion Ko Pin Yi faced former World 10-Ball Champion Darren Appleton. Captain Reyes selection of Ko paid off in a 5-0 trouncing of Appleton. Asia levels with West 2-2.
In a re-match of the Japan quarter-finals last week, Van Boening faced his hero Bustamante. Django took over right away and was up 3-1 as he took on a simple 9-ball shot. Asia looked like it may take its first lead of the Kings Cup, until Bustamante missed. The energized Van Boening came back to lead and eventually at 4-4 hill hill, outmanuevered Django to win a crucial point for the West. Team West back on top 3-2.
In the final match of the day, the Triples, Reyes elected himself to play with the 2 Taiwanese champs. Captain Immonen also placed himself in this match with Ouschan and Van Boening. Reyes again faltered on makeable shots and the Ko’s were not able to sustain backup. Mika’s triplets won 5-3.
The in-form West were delighted to take the 4-2 lead in Manila on Day 1.
Darren Appleton, inconspicuously taking the role of co-captain, had this to say, “4-2 is a good result but I think we play better tomorrow now we got the feel for the table. Chemistry is good and we all gel good together. Good trust in one another. A big turning point was when Busty (Bustamante) missed the 9-ball to go 4-1. And then Shane played great from there. Couple bad misses for them was key for us to lead 4-2.
About his new teammates he had this to say, “Shane looks more happy playing with us Euros …and we overly happy he is on our side. He helped us a lot on breaking the balls . Albin has a great debut on international team event .100% record tonight, he played solid. We win tomorrow’s session and we in great shape . For me and Mika, just two old guys just chipping in when needed” he ended with a wink.
The TV airing schedule:
Nov. 20, Friday at 10:30 pm – 2:30 am – replay on Nov. 23, Monday at 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Nov. 21, Saturday at 10:30 pm – 2:30 am – replay on Nov. 24, Tuesday at 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Nov. 22, Sunday at 10:30 pm – 2:30 am – replay on Nov. 26, Thursday at 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
The Live Stream schedule:
Nov. 19th-21st from 6:00pm-10:00pm Manila Time & 5:00am-9:00am USA EST.
Pay Per View earlybird discounted special is now available on www.KingsCupPool.com for $24.95 for all 3 days, or $10 per day. Fans can watch live or the delayed telecast upto 24 hours after the event at their convenience.
The exquisite Victory Table by Rasson Billiards is a perfect fit for this royal battle
Official Table: Rasson Billiards *
Official Cloth: Andy Cloth *Official Cue: Viking Cue * Official Balls: Cyclop. *Official Clothing: FA Clothing
Official Table Set-Up Partner: Puyat Sports