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Round of 16 at WPC: Truly a “world” championship, with 11 countries represented
Nov 10, 2006, 2:07 AM

MANILA, Philippines – In a remarkable bit of proof for growing parity in the international pool community, no fewer than 11 different countries will be represented in the round-of-16 as play starts up again Friday at the 2006 World Pool Championship.

A couple other major trends are in evidence in the roster of remaining players: Asian players are showing their new dominance, with nine competitors still in the field; and the United States continues its slip from the elite, posting no players in the final 32, not to mention the final 16.

Taiwan leads the pack with four contestants, including Chia-Ching Wu and Po-Cheng Kuo – the winner and runner-up from the 2005 World Pool Championship. The host country is next, with three Filipinos still in the field.

Strangely, the remaining Filipinos are all either second-tier players – Ronnie Alcano and Rodolfo Luat – or completely out of left field, as with youngster Jeff De Luna. It seems that the high degree of expectations for the country’s leading lights were too much to bear.

Also from Asia are the surprising Luong Chi Dung from Vietnam, who has become a quiet favorite with laser-honed play, and Li He-Wen from China.

The remaining seven players all hail from different countries. Here are the matchups for Friday’s round-of-16:

Ronnie Alcano (Philipinnes) vs. Po-Cheng Kuo (Taiwan)
Pat Holtz (Scotland) vs. Chia-Ching Wu (Taiwan)
Jeff De Luna (Philippines) vs. Luong Chi Dung (Vietnam)
Sandor Tot (Serbia) vs. Li He-Wen (China)
Tyler Edey (Canada) vs. Liu Cheng-Chuan (Taiwan)
Ralf Souquet (Germany) vs. Konstantin Stepanov (Russia)
David Alcaide (Spain) vs. Rodolfo Luat (Philippines)
Steve Davis (England) vs. Che-Wei Fu (Taiwan)

The championship concludes on Sunday, when the winner will collect a $100,000 top prize.