Winner Dennis Orcullo and Runner up Toru Kuribayashi
UNKOWN KURIBAYASHI FROM JAPAN FALTERS IN TITLE ATTEMPT
After five days of grueling match play Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines finally claimed
his first World Pool Masters Title, which was held at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas. His reward was $20, 000 and bragging rights for the rest of the year.
Over 750 players from every nook and cranny around the world, (including qualifier entries) made an attempt to win this event. Yet when all the dust had settled and all the predictions destroyed it was just one player who has come out on top this year. Yes Dennis Orcollo has just further cemented his reputation as one of the most fierce competitors in any discipline of pool, although diminutive in stature, has shown us once again just how tall he stands in this sport.
Dennis beat the 27 year old Japanese player Toru Kuribayashi, who before his first match was relatively unknown to fans in the States. Well it did not take long before Toru established himself as a firm fan favorite with the crowd, with his swash buckling style of attacking play, and his pleasant demeanor. For sure both the fans and his unfortunate opponents will remember this young man, and I wish him well in the future, and am sure that this win will hopefully propel him on to more international successes.
The two players were given a huge reception when they were introduced to the crowd, and Toru won the lag and breaks and has no shot, so plays safe and leaves Dennis a shot. Dennis proceeds to run out until he jaws the 6 ball, and leaves an easy run out for Mr Kuribayashi to go into a 1-0 lead.
Toru runs out the next rack to go 2-0 up. In the next rack Toru breaks makes a ball but has no shot. He elects to play a kick and misses. Dennis runs out to go 2-1 down. Dennis breaks but has no shot. He plays safe but scratches in the side pocket. Toru runs out and goes ahead 3-1.
At this stage we are all wondering if we are going to see an upset with the young Japanese player ahead of the experienced Philippino by two games.
Well Dennis who was waiting for his opportunity to strike did not have to wait long. Mr Kuribayashi broke and had to play a safe as there was no shot on, and Dennis plays a better safe, and ends up running out. Dennis closes it to 3-2.
In the sixth rack Dennis comes up dry, but leaves no shot. Yoru attempts a jump but fails, and Dennis “jumps” on him and wins the game to even the score at 3-3.
Dennis has to push after the break on rack seven, and a safety exchange ensues, and eventually Kuribayashi scratches on a safety attempt, and Dennis runs out to go ahead
Dennis who seemed to have moved up a gear, breaks and runs out rack eight to put the score at 5-3. Dennis dished up more of the same in rack nine and broke and ran out his second rack in a row to put the score at 6-3.
Dennis breaks rack ten and plays safe, Mr Kuribayashi plays a safe back, but eventually Dennis get the better of the exchange as he draws on his vast experience and wins another rack to go ahead 7-3. At this stage the writing was on the wall as Dennis breaks and runs out the rack to win his first ever World Pool Masters event at 8-3.
Dennis was very emotional after making the final 9 ball, and fell to his knees with tears streaming down his cheeks. The crowd erupted and gave a great hand to both players. In what was probably the inevitable outcome, Mr Kuribayashi gave us his all and had his moment of glory leading the match at 3-1, but the experience and his downright great play swung the outcome Mr Orcollo’s way at the end of the day.
In his Matchroom interview afterwards a jubilant Dennis said, “I am very happy and you can see the tears in my eyes. If I could fly in the sky then I would fly. This tournament is really hard to win but I made it and I’m really proud to have won this. It’s my biggest win.”
“It was very difficult to play in the final as you try to not think that if you win this game then you are the champion. In the semi-final I wasn’t feeling like that but in the final I had to tell myself to just try and control my emotion. If you can’t stay in control of your emotions then you can’t do anything and your mind goes blank. So I just controlled myself and continued my game right until the end,” he added.
When asked how this would change his life, he said, “I got a little bit rich - all the people in the Philippines celebrating, and I thank them for praying for me to win - I cannot wait to phone my wife and speak to my children who are all celebrating - I am happy for my manager and was will celebrate tonight by eating and drinking and maybe a dance.”
I asked him why he moved Mr Kuribayashi’s case and cues over to the other seat when he came into the arena for the final, and he said, “I wanted to sit in the same chair as the one that I won my match against Roberto Gomez, I thought that it would bring me luck.”
Well if you believe in luck then I guess it worked.
All of us would like to take this opportunity of congratulating Dennis Orcollo on this great win and wish him luck in his next immediate pursuit, that of taking down the CSI US Open 10 Ball event that is his next task.
Dennis Orcollo (PHI) 8-3 Toru Kuribayashi (JAP)
Winner receives $20,000, runner-up $10,000
Dennis Orcollo (PHI) 8-6 Roberto Gomez (PHI)
Oliver Ortmann (GER) 3-8 Toru Kuribayashi (JAP)
Losers Receive $5,000
In his semi final match Orcollo beat his compatriot Roberto “Superman” Gomez 8-6 to secure his spot in the final. The match was up for grabs at 6-6 but Dennis took the match by the scruff of the neck and ground out the final two games to make this his second Matchroom Sport final, following his win in Poland in 2006.
In the other semi final Mr Kuribayashi showed the crowd that it was not luck that got him to the semi’s, by strutting his stuff with his aggressive shotmaking, to overpower Oliver Ortmann with a score of 8-3. Oliver just made too many mistakes against a young opponent that was eager to jump on his errors.
Thank you for visiting NYCGRIND.Com and stay tuned for upcoming reports on the CSI US Open 10 Ball event that takes place right here in Las Vegas all this week.
NYCGrind.com Contributor Geoff Conway
Geoff Conway - Pool Junkie
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