Our champion – Ronnie Alcano

He is the world champion. Ronato Alcano, recently nicknamed “The Volcano”, a native of Calamba, Laguna, has won the World Pool Championship at age 34. He defeated Ralf Souquet of Germany earlier today by 6 racks in a race to 17 (alternate breaks 17-11). He is also the 3rd Filipino to win the championship – Efren Reyes in 1999 and Alex Pagulayan in 2004.

Alcano’s World Pool Experience

In the group stages, Ronnie only won 1 of 3 games. In his first game, he lost to Luong Chi Dung of Vietnam 7-8. In his second game, he lost to Christian Reimering of Germany 3-8. Heavily unfancied to qualify, he needed to win 8-2 (a tall order) in his 3rd qualifying match against Marcel Martens of the Netherlands. Obviously he was able to accomplish this and because of the three-way tie in his group (28) he qualified via “racks lost”. His was 18 and the next player’s (Christian Reimering) was 19. He then proceeded to the knockout-stages beating Roberto Gomez (Philippines) 10-1, Efren Reyes 10-7, Kuo Po-cheng (Taiwan) 11-5, Wu Chia-ching (Taiwan) 11-6 and finally Li He-wen (China) 11-8 before proceeding to the finals.

The Finals

Alcano’s soft-break-with-a-twist proved to be his main arsenal for the final match. He hit the balls softly from the left side of the table which led to the wing ball dropping in the top left corner but he also drew the cue ball back which would hit either the long left rail or the short back rail and finally settling on the the lower middle part of the table. The one ball would always end up in the absolute middle wherein he would have a shot to the side or to the end corner. The final match was sort of one-sided and at one-time he led 8-2. The closest that Souquet got was 14-9. In the last rack, Alcano broke but he did not have a shot on the 1-ball. He then played a tight safety which Souquet broke. He played another safety which Souquet fouled, leaving him a 1-9 combination shot worth $100,000 for the championship.

What I know about Ronnie

I have been following Ronnie’s game since I first saw him play a tournament in Gameworx (Festival Mall Alabang circa 2001). He did not win that tournament (Antonio Lining did), but I was impressed at his shot-making. This made me curious about this tall, lanky man of about 6-feet. I would hear stories about a certain “Ronnie Calamba” but I did knot know him by that monicker until he started appearing in local televised matches. One incident I can’t forget was when he was competing against Edgar Acaba in Metropolis and he was about to shoot the winning 9-ball but before he did, he raised his cue to signify his victory but he missed the 9. Edgar ended up winning the game!

I also remember watching him play against Django (Francisco Bustamante) in Astrobowl, Magallanes. The game was rotation he was given a handicap of 50-70. Django was about to win, it was a hill-hill match for Php 50,000, but he missed a ball. Ronnie then cleared the table. I also won Php 1,000 from that match because I bet for Ronnie (side bet). At that time he was using a Viking production cue.

In the World Pool Championship I could have sworn that I saw the Viking logo in his cue but sources tell me that it was a borrowed cue from a certain Ariel Carmelli because his custom was still in the making.

I also know that Ronnie is mischievous from “dropping” money games. I’ve heard this from a couple of sources but I do not have any proof. I also heard that he has a case in the U.S. for this but again, I’m not sure. What I do know is, even if he did such things in the past, winning a World Championship will change the man a lot (both financially and mentally) and I expect to see a humble and definitely more-talented Ronnie minus the negative comments in the future.

Ronnie Alcano image

A week’s excuse not to blog

The World Pool Championships. Held here in Manila and of the tournament’s nine days I was there for four. It was a blast. I was there the first day and the by the first glimpse of the whole setup it was pool nirvana. 128 of the world’s best players, 21 of which are from the Philippines, 1 main television table, 1 secondary television table, 4 more (un-televised) match tables and 4 practice tables. Even from the the organizers point of view, the PICC Convention Center was made as if it was meant for this event. I was also there on the third (Monday), fourth and sixth day.

Today it was the semi-finals and although the heavily favored and favorited Efren Reyes did not make it to this point, a Filipino by the name of Ronnie Alcano has entered the finals! I’m sure you pool fans are familiar with him and for those who are not, he has been campaigning under the shadows of Bata and Django for a couple of years now and has also won Rookie of the Year in 2003. He was also the one who eliminated Efren earlier in the tournament. This is also a special treat for me since I’m known by my pool friends to have always been a follower of Ronnie’s game. He will battle Ralf Souquet of Germany tomorrow at 2 p.m.

A view from the top - World Pool Championship in PICC

More pictures here

World Pool Championships MIGHT be ours for 3 years

I’m sure you’ve heard all the buzz about the 2006 World Pool Championships which will be held here in Manila right? If not, well, it’s only the biggest tournament in 9-ball pool… Anyway, I just got word from Pamela Pascual of RAYA Sports that in line with getting the bid to host this year’s tournament, the organizers have the right to avail the 3-year consecutive hosting package. I guess this is what happened when they held it consecutively in Cardiff, Wales.

Pool fans let’s try to keep the tournament here longer! Support the World Pool Championships this November 4 – 12 in PICC!

Tickets are available through TicketWorld.