Filipinos ruled the first two days of the qualifying round for the Philippine Open (Monday and Saturday) at the Star Billiards Center in Quezon City by taking four of eight spots up for competition.
Arnel Bautista, Resty Labastida, Jestoni Magadia, and Oliver Villafuerte recorded four straight victories in the winners’ bracket to book their places in Stage 2 of the Open.
To secure their spots, Bautista beat Kenichi Uchigaki of Japan 9-7; Labastida beat highly fancied Japanese Naoyuki Oi 9-7; Magadia outclassed compatriot Elmer Kalaquian 9-4; and Villafuerte defeated another Filipino James Al Ortega 9-6.
57 players – 30 foreign players and 27 Filipinos – registered for the three-day qualifiers.
Action continues today Sunday with 12 players still battling for the remaining four qualifier spots.
Oi and Uchigaki join two Singaporeans and two Malaysians who are still in the hunt for a place in the main tournament.
The qualifier format is double elimination, with the last eight players taking the Stage 2 spots. All matches are race to 9.