MANILA, Philippines - The last man in is the first man in the pecking order of the Philippine Open Pool Championships.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” said Hohmann, who beat good buddy Souquet to the draw in copping a first major title worth $30,000 in Manila. “I have many victories before and the first one should be the most memorable, the world championship. But everybody wants to win a tournament in the Philippines because this is home to pool.”
Youthful Siming Chen of China displayed masterful shotmaking and cue control to outclass Kelly Fisher of Britain, 9-3, for the women’s tiara and the $20,000 champion’s purse.
Hohmann, world 9-ball titlist in 2003, wasn’t supposed to be part of the 64-man field, having already withdrawn due to a commitment to an exhibition match in the US. But when that US gig was postponed, he tried to enter the Phl Open again and luckily got in as replacement of Russian Ruslan Chinakhov, who pulled out due to illness.
“I immediately went online to look for a flight to Manila, it took me two hours to find one, and three hours later, I was off to the airport. I arrived the night before the event proper. And it’s probably my destiny to win here,” said Hohmann, who previously survived hill-hill matches with Phl’s Carlo Biado in the quarters and China’s Liu Haitao in the semis.
“The Hitman” pocketed $30,000 for winning the tournament backed by the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines, earning 400 ranking points.
It was a sad ending for Souquet, who never tasted defeat until the championship round.
“The Kaiser,” who came off a masterful 9-0 whitewash of Filipino Antonio Lining in the noontime semis stage, got on the hill first against Hohmann after winning the tough layout of the 19th rack.
But an uncharacteristic miss on the 2-ball to the corner gave Hohmann the chance to snatch the rack, and make a break and run in the title-clinching 21st.
Earlier in the Last 4, Souquet relegated Lining to a hapless spectator, keeping him on his stool for an agonizingly long time en route to the posting the first and only shutout in the men’s hostilities.
“That’s really the best defense – to keep the other guy sitting,” said Souquet, who won rack after rack after winning the lag and gave Lining only four trips to the table all throughout.
Lining got his first foray when Souquet opted for a safety in a complicated layout in the fourth rack. But the Filipino failed to take advantage and botched his attempt to sink the 8-ball to the side pocket, leading to a cleanup by the German.
The world no. 2 Lining got to stand up three more times in the succeeding sets, and only when “the Kaiser” went for safeties.
“Maganda ang breaking ni Souquet, hindi talaga ako nabigyan ng tsansa na makapag-break. Nangyayari talaga yan (Souquet’s breaks got going and I wasn’t really given a chance to break. Things like these happen),” said Lining, the best-performing Filipino in the meet backed by the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines.
“Nabigyan ako ng oppotunity, isang beses lang pero hindi ko nakuha (I got only more opportunity to win a rack but I bungled it),” added the Negros Billiards Stable stalwart, the best-performing Pinoy in the meet.