Former World 8-Ball champion Dennis Orcullo of the Philippines felt just how tough the competition is in the World 9-Ball Championship in Doha, Qatar.
On Monday night (early Tuesday in Manila), the former world No. 1 player and last year’s WPA Player of the Year, succumbed to the pressure when he was stunned by Andrew Kong of Hong Kong, 9-5.
In what proved to be one of several pieces of bad news for the Filipinos campaigning here at the Al Sadd Sports Club, Orcullo couldn’t get his game going. He was just one of the Filipinos who lost on the third day of competition.
Orcullo now faces a must-win situation in his match against fellow Pinoy Raymond Faraon.
Several other compatriots also met similar fates.
Young Joyme Vicente was close to making the round of 32 in his match against John Morra of Canada. He was first to go on the hill and was leading 8-5, but he missed three straight 9-Balls, allowing his Canadian counterpart to get back and complete the win.
Other Pinoy players who lost in the day were Ramil Gallego, Jundel Mazon, and Marlon Caneda.
The good news, however, is that a strong of group of Filipino cue artists advanced into the round of 64.
Francisco “Django” Bustamante, who won his first world championship here two years ago, joined bosom buddy Efren “Bata” Reyes in the knockout stage.
Bustamante ripped Abdulah Yousef, 9-4.
Double world champion Ronnie Alcano, former World 10-Ball runner-up Lee Van Corteza, Roberto Gomez and Doha-based Filipino player Antonio Gabica also carved out contrasting victories to advance to the next stage of competition that offers $40,000 to the champion.
Alcano, who already has World 8-Ball and World 9-Ball titles in his pocket, walked the tightrope before outlasting Hunter Lombardo of the United States in a hill-hill encounter, 9-8.
Corteza, who finished second to Mika Immonen during the second staging of the World 10-Ball Championship in Manila, outplayed compatriot Marlon Caneda, 9-5.
Gomez, runner-up to Daryl Peach of Great Britain in the 2007 World Pool Championship at the Araneta Coliseum, nearly blanked hometown bet Mohammad Saeed, 9-1.
Gabica, the 2006 Doha Asian Games gold medalist, also went through a tough match before surviving Denis Grabe of Estonia, 9-7.