Home Top News Kaci snaps Chua’s winning run in World Pool Championship semis

Kaci snaps Chua’s winning run in World Pool Championship semis

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FALLING short of the title he dreamed most when he was a child, Filipino pool star Johann Chua vowed to remain relentless in his pursuit of glory.

“From a nine-year-old watching this tournament on TV, to the one being watched by many. Yes, it’s not yet time, but this proves that I’m getting closer,” said Mr. Chua moments after his heartbreaking 11-6 semifinal defeat to Eklent Kaci of Turkey in the World Pool Championship in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia early on Sunday.

It was truly a painful defeat for Mr. Chua as he appeared in control and on his way to marching straight to the finals after leapfrogging to a strong 6-3 start following an impressive display of shot craftsmanship.

But Mr. Chua, who won the World Cup of Pool last year in Lugo, Spain with James Aranas, ran into trouble while Mr. Kaci started to cash in on his chances that nailed the former, who couldn’t score from there.

Mr. Kaci went on to make the finals where he fell to American Fedor Gorst in a heart-pounding hill-hill 15-14 result.

And it could have been Mr. Chua, who was hoping to claim the biggest victory of his life and join an elite group of former champions that included Filipino legends Efren “Bata” Reyes, Francisco “Django” Bustamante, Alex Pagulayan, Ronnie Alcano and Carlo Biado.

Painfully, it was Mr. Chua’s lone defeat after hurdling every barrier he crossed — Chinese Taipei’s Ko Ping Han, 11-5, Austria’s Max Lechner, 11-10, Syria’s Mohammad Soufi, 11-8, and China’s Dang Jin Hu of China, 11-3 — in the 64-player knockout stage.

That was apart from his unbeaten run in the double elimination stage where he was near flawless.

Although it wasn’t the result he expected, Mr. Chua, who went home with $50,000 or P2.9 million, said his Jeddah experience will remain forever in his memory and heart.

“Time will pass, no one will remember who came in third place, but I will,” he said. — Joey Villar

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