Saturday, December 1

I had an interesting November starting with the World Championships in Manila

I was able to win two straight games in the Preliminaries(including beating Jeromy Jones 9-6) so I made it to the last 64.

There I met a Chinese Taipei guy Fu first round. It was a good match for me I played well. 10-5 for me.Then I beat Tony Drago in Televised match 10-6 to advance in the final 16. It was a nervous match for both of us but I think I outplayed him with my good safety play. Third knockout round I was up against Alain Martel from Canada. Also I was happy with my performance though the match was close 11-8. I broke and ran the last three to edge him out.Quartefinals was against young talented guy Vilmos Foldes from Hungary. It was scheduled for 10.30 am which I thought was kind of Strange for a World Championships quarterfinal!I had had a late schedule the whole week and it seemed to me I was a little sleepy still that time. My eyes were open I could not really see the edge of the balls. I made some uncharacterestic errors, though I had many chances to get back in the game. at 6-4 in his favor I tried a bank shot and after missing it he punished me winning four straight racks. So I was down 10-4, I made a slight come-back winning 3 racks in a row. At 7-10 I had an empty break and he ran out. 11-7 final score.

It was a decent result but I felt like If I win that match I might win the gold. Next time I will make sure I am awake no matter how early the game.

Next week most of the "top guns" went for an invitational tournament south of Manila to Dumanguete Island. I was definitely a star-studded field as 8 of 32 was former World Champions. Anyways all the foreigners were having a a hard time there, as a lot of top players got knocked out early. Wu, Yang, Archer, Hohmann was some of the early exits. I was able to finish as the top foreigner as a made 5th place. I lost to Alex Pagulayan 9-7 despite being in a early lead of 5-2. It seemes the breaks change sometimes in the game of nine-ball and thats exactly what happened there. Alex proceeded to win the tournament in an all Filipino final against Ramil Gallego.

Then it was time to go Japan for the annual All Japan Championships.

I made easy work of early rounds there winning 3 straight games to make the top 32.

The final day starts early: 9.30 I had to play Kawabata-San 1st round. It was a decent match I was a little luckier on the breaks. Also maybe my cue-ball was in better control on the break. I won in the end 11-9? I forgot.

The 2nd match I faced Lu from Chinese Taipei. It was a lot of mistakes early in the match it seemed like this table was little faster than others. We both kept overrunning position for next ball. in the end it turned out to be a good match with plenty of drama. I was down 10-8, then I ran two racks to make it 10-10. On the hill-hill rack i had a pretty good break but one of the balls knocked the cue ball in the bottom corner. Straight in. Then I had to watch what I thought was going to be a clearance. In the end it was Lu who was more nervous because he missed the the 3 ball which was really the key shot of the rack. I then made a thin cut on the 3 and gained position to run out to make it 11-10!

Next match was against my old friend and rival Ralf Souquet. I felt great because I had just come from a difficult match with LU. I was breaking good and running out most of the time. Ralf of course responded in similar fashion. I did get a nice package in the end with 3 run-outs to make it 10-6. Then my luck changed. I had a tough shot on the 1 down the "long rail" at 10-6. I missed it. Souquet played a good safety and made it eventually 10-7. then he had three terrific breaks with good lay-outs to make it 10-10. Then after the break he played a nice safety I had no choice but to intentianally foul while trying to tie up the 4 with the 8-ball. I failed in this and then Souquet proceeded what seemed as a routine run-out. a 6-foot shot on the 8 straight in with stop shot and the nine would have been in good shape. THEN he miscued! Lady luck decided not to give me any easy shots cos the 8 hit two points of the corner and was in a tough place to shoot either corner for me. I was forced to play safe. I failed in snookering the 8 and Souquet banked the 8 in the side. He still had a slightly difficult shot on the 9. He missed it but sent the cue ball all the way to the other side of the table. It was a long shot for me near the rail. I hit the 9 too thin an left it pretty easy for Ralf to just finally lag it in.

Indeed it's 5th place again! Strange streak. I wish the next one is better or perhaps a win!

Anyways I guess its not a bad average.

I am back in New York now for a few weeks b4 heading to Finland for Christmas. I wish all the fans happy holiday season and see you again soon.