Masters Goes to Final Four

Two Filipinos, a German and a Japanese Vying for Title

64 CAME but only four remain as the World Pool Masters at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas reaches its conclusion tonight with two semi-finals and the final.

The first is an all-Pinoy affair between Dennis Orcollo and Roberto Gomez, while the other features two players who won through to Vegas via the Masters extensive qualifying system – Germany’s Oliver Ortmann and Toru Kuribayashi of Japan.

In the first match of the afternoon session, Roberto Gomez established a 6-1 lead over Ralf Souquet with some free-wheeling break and run pool. An illegal break from Souquet in the third game when the score stood at 1-1 cost him dearly as Gomez took the score to 4-1 without his opponent leaving his chair.

That soon moved to 6-1 before Souquet got back into it, winning the next two to take the score to 3-6. The German was running out in the next but ran out of position going from 8 to 9 and a tentative attempt with the rest left the 9 hanging and Gomez moved to the hill at 7-4.

Souquet won a couple more but it was Gomez match as won the 13th game to reach the semi-final where he faces Dennis Orcollo.

“I’m so happy to win as I’ve beaten the best player here. He is the best player because he is so consistent. He never changes as I was on seven racks but he was always there.

“He’s as scary an opponent as you can get as he has a poker face but I really feel good to win.

“Dennis Orcollo is very tough but if I can play well then I can beat anyone. I normally beat Dennis but in money games he gives me a little weight. But in tournaments we’ve played four times and I’ve won three times and he has won once.”

The second match saw young Japanese lad Toru Kuribayashi continue on his fairy tale run in Vegas. He qualified for this event in March in Yokohama, Japan and has never before competed on the international stage.

His opponent Charlie Williams put in a dogged performance but Kuribayashi’s break was always his most potent weapon as he took the match 8-6.

That was also the scoreline in the final match of the session as 2004 Masters runner-up Oliver Ortmann won the all German battle against two-time Masters winner Thomas Engert. Again, it was a close fought encounter but the veteran Ortmann, who won the final two racks to win by an 8-6 scoreline.

“We both didn’t play well. When I was up 3-1 I missed an easy ball and I thought that might change the whole match. He came back to 3-3 and it was a totally new match.

“It was my worst match of the tournament but I can be happy that I won.

“I’m in the semi-final and I will try to not think about the past. You have good and bad matches but playing in the semi-finals of the World Pool Masters is a dream and I will try to do my best.

“Sometimes it’s better if you have a bad match coming up for the semi-finals instead of having a good match before.

“I’m just trying to concentrate on my own game. Every day the confidence is different and the feeling of the body is different so I hope tonight will change a bit.”

Play continues this evening with the two semi-finals followed by the final. All matches are race to 8, winner breaks.

Dennis Orcollo (PHI) v Roberto Gomez (PHI)

Oliver Ortmann (GER) v Toru Kuribayashi (JAP)

Quarter-Final Results

Ralf Souquet (GER) 5-8 Roberto Gomez (PHI)

Charlie Williams (USA) 6-8 Toru Kuribayashi (JAP)

Thomas Engert (GER) 6-8 Oliver Ortmann (GER)

After 17 years as a 16-player invitational competition, the Masters, one of the longest established tournaments in pool, is now a 64 player event and takes place over five days instead of three.

Working in conjunction with  Cuesports International, the Masters takes place during the annual BCA National 8-Ball Championships, which sees thousands of players and fans flock to the Riviera for a lengthy festival of pool.

Television is produced by Matchroom Sport and will be seen as 15 x one hour programmes in 14 countries around the world with more to be added to the list.

The prize fund is set at a guaranteed $100,000 with $20,000 going to the eventual champion.

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