Well I just got back from Manila....the place where I won my world 9ball crown, This time it was for the world 10ball championships. The tournament set up, organisation, and venue were second to none, and as always in Manila there were plenty of supporters watching from start to finish.
In the first round I had an in form finish player call Petri Makonen, who had recently beaten Darren Appleton in the latest Eurotour. But I got off to a flyer and played strong to run out a 9-2 winner. My 2nd match was live on ESPN tv channel vs top Vietnamese player Phuc Long Ngeyen. This was nearly a mistake free match from both of us, and form from my recent events was starting to show through and I won the match 9-4. Now, because I only dropped a total of 6racks in qualifying for the last 64 players, I was seeded 3 in the draw. Normally you would think that this alone should provide me with a reasonably sweet draw, but somehow it did the opposite....in my quarter of the draw was myself, Alcano, Biado, Orcollo, Boyes, Wu, Gomez Yang just to name a few....all capable of actually winning the whole tournament! in my last 64 match I drew the highly rated Kuwait player Omar Al Shaheem, a young player who has a swagger around the table with a slight resemblance of a young Ronnie o'sullivan. It was a super match where I went 7-2 down, but showed good heart and kept my confidence high to come through a 9-8 winner. Next in the last 32 I had top USA player Shane Van Boening. This was probably my best match, I played near faultless and cruised to a 9-5 win.
Now I was in the final 16 players, playing very well and brimming with confidence. In front of me I had the very in form Carlo Biado who is the latest hotshot to come from the Philippines. I made 2 safety errors and found myself 8-1 down in a matter of minutes! I dug in deep and started to fight back. I got the match back to 5-8 but then broke dry and left the table open, he came in and ran them out to take the match 9-5.
A very disappointing end to my run as I strongly believed as the tournament progressed I was getting stronger and stronger. I guess the fact that Biado destroyed Ronnie Alcano 9-1 and also Dennis Orcollo 9-3 showed that I lost to a player at the very top of his game, and only 2 safety errors was my downfall.....that's why pool is the toughest sport in the world, mentally that is.
So, not another World title to add to my collection, but a very good tournament run, and more confidence in my bin!
My next event is the China Open in just over 2 weeks.....watch this space!