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Upset in the Philippines: Top 32 Emerge Minus Bustamante
Nov 8, 2006, 12:54 PM

The top 64 have been reduced to 32 after the first single-elimination round culminated Nov. 8 at the World Pool Championship in Manila, the Philippines, with several favorites going the wayside.

Heavily favored Filipino Francisco Bustamante took a spot on the sidelines after a difficult defeat at the hands of German Thomas Engert.

The European No. 2-ranked Engert built up a solid 4-1 lead to start the match. With a good crowd willing him on, Bustamante dug in to level it at 4-all and he then took the ninth game to take the lead for the first time. But, Engert, 41, from Dueren, upped the ante as he reeled off the next three to put some distance between himself and ‘Django.’

Bustamante pegged it back to 7-6 but another burst from Engert saw him reach the hill at 9-6. The Filipino offered respectable resistance, but Engert took the 17th game for a magnificent win.

Meanwhile, another top German had no such joy. 2003 World Champion Thorsten Hohmann bit the dust at the hands of the sole remaining Canadian, Tyler Edey, who came through a hill-hill battle with Raj Hundal to make the single elimination round. It was another hill-hill epic as the 26 year-old held his nerve for a shock victory.

The Americans have officially gone extinct. Earl Strickland suffered a trouncing by Taiwan's Liu Cheng-chuan, 10-2. Johnny Archer and Cory Deuel also fell at the hands of talented Taiwanese players, Yang Ching-shun and Wu Chia-ching, respectively, while Charlie Williams was knocked out by Serbian Sander Tot.

Despite Django's departure, the Filipino contingent remains strong, representing a fourth of the 32-man field. Efren Reyes looked bound for the final after knocking out fellow countryman "money-game king" Dennis Orcollo, 10-6.

Among the eight Filipinos to advance were Marlon Manalo, who coasted by Singapore hopeful Chan Keng-kwang, 10-5, and newcomer Jeffrey ‘Bata’ De Luna, who took down Dutchman Nick van den Berg in a 10-8 thriller to book a place in round three.

Home supporters are desperately hoping a Filipino lifts the trophy after the final, to be held on Sunday, November 12.