Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tolentino Stuns Souquet, Fisher Keeps Women’s Hopes Flying

Mario Tolentino of the Philippines stunned World No. 1 Ralf Souquet in a stirring upset that rocked the opening day of the Philippine Open Pool Championship at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila.

Not to be outdone in significance, Kelly Fisher of the United Kingdom continued her campaign to show female equality at the pool table by beating Filipino veteran campaigner Victor Arpilleda, 9-7.

Another Filipino – Demosthenes Pulpul – became the third player to enter the third round in late night action on Wednesday when he beat Kok Hon Keong of Malaysia 9-5.

Souquet’s loss was a shocker because he had earlier flawlessly disposed of Jasmin Ouschan in a televised match, 9-1. Everyone expected him to get by Tolentino and enter the third round. But the Filipino, as he has done in other international tournaments, showed the oddsmakers wrong.

Tolentino raced to a 4-1 lead and tenaciously held on up to the final rack. When Souquet tried to close in at 8-6, the Filipino pounced on a dry break by the German to end the match.

The Fisher-Arpilleda match showed beyond doubt that the women can play with the men in pool and that the English lady has the poise and skill to compete for top honors here. Arpilleda is a Filipino veteran with solid credentials.

Fisher took command early in the match, racing to a commanding 6-3 lead. Every time the Filipino closed in, she would race ahead again. It went that way till the end.

Pulpul, who took fourth place in the World Ten Ball Championship last October, showed again that he belongs in big-time pool competition. In the opening round, he easily beat compatriot Elvis Calasang, 9-3, a significant feat considering that his opponent has placed well in international and national tournaments.

In the match with Keong, he never gave the Malaysian a chance as he built formidable leads throughout.

All three second-round winners will get a free day on Day Two of the Philippine Open.

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