Team West rules Kings Cup in tight contest

Team West rules Kings Cup in tight contest
Team West edged Team Asia, 10-8, to rule the inaugural Kings Cup.

Team West banked on the trio of Finn Mika Immonen, American Shane Van Boening and Austrian Albin Ouschan to finish off Team Asia, 10-8, in the pivotal 3-on-3 match to hoist the inaugural Kings Cup billiards title.   

Immonen, Team West’s skipper, pocketed the finishing blow to turn back Team Asia’s Django Bustamante and Taiwanese brothers Ko Pin Yi and Ko Ping Chung in a come-from-behind 5-3 win in the 3 versus 3 match in the final playdate of the tournament that started Saturday afternoon and was decided early Sunday morning at the Resorts World Manila.

Team West, composed of world champions from Europe and USA, needed three extra matches to seal the win after leading 9-6 as Team Asia mounted a spirited comeback much to the delight of the home crowd.     

“We we’re pretty confident that we could’ve win 10-6 but they started breathing back in the match,” said Immonen. “They made a great comeback and put us under pressure again.”

“But we also showed a lot of heart too to comeback in this match when we were down 3-2 then tie the match at 3-3 and get some significant rack from there,” added the two-time world champion.       

Team Asia skipper Efren “Bata” Reyes said that they just ran out of luck in the end as their shots went sour.

“Minamalas lang kami ng konti,” said the 61-year-old pool legend. “Masama ang mga tira ng mga kasama ko ngayon kaya ninenerbyos rin ako. Kaya pati ako sumasama na rin ang tira ko.”

England’s Darren Appleton is the fourth member of Team West.    

Each team played in singles, doubles, 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 matches in this race-to-10, 3-day tournament.

Team West went off to a blazing start and took a 4-2 advantage in opener last Thursday and kept their hold of the lead in the Day Two after splitting the six matches of the tie with Team Asia. 

Another hot start in the final playdate pushed Team West at the brink of taking the crown, 9-6, and went a rack closer to claim the title in the 4-on-4 match.

But Team Asia had a different script.

Down 0-4 after some strings of dry breaks and missed pockets, Team Asia found an opening in the fifth rack to mount a comeback. The host squad took advantage of a crucial miss of Immonen on the No. 9-ball in the corner pocket in the eighth frame as Reyes and Bustamante cleaned the table for the equalizer.

Reyes had a dry break in the ninth rack but a No. 4-ball miss by Appleton was all Team Asia needed to steal a come-from-behind win.

Pin Yi edged Ouschan in the next singles match, 5-3, to cut Team Asia’s tie deficit to 8-9.

 

 

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