Crack Chinese player Li He Wen repulsed a big charge from Doha-based Filipino player Antonio Gabica to hack out an 11-10 decision in the World 9-Ball Championship at the Al Sadd Stadium in Doha, Qatar on Thursday night (Friday morning in Manila).
Gabica’s setback means that Filipinos were wiped out in the race for the coveted $40,000 as the tournament comes down to the last four men – Li, Darren Appleton of Great Britain, Ralf Souquet of Germany and Naoyuki Oi of Japan.
After the last 16 on the same day, the Filipinos were down to three players: Dennis Orcullo, Jundel Mazon and Gabica.
Orcullo was the first player to be denied of a quarterfinals berth when he was outplayed by Dutch No. 1 player Nick van den Berg, 11-6.
Mazon lost in a tightly-fought encounter with Ko Pin Yi of Chinese Taipei, 11-9, but Gabica was able to escape past Mika Immonen, 11-9.
Despite sending a strong 17-man pool of players, no other Filipino player was able to reach as high as eighth place.
Perry Mariano, manager of Orcullo and Carlo Biado shared his thoughts about the debacle.
“It’s not about quantity but quality of games,” said Mariano. “After Dennis lost, you had that feeling na parang wala nang ibang matibay na matitira.”