The Philippines staved off an almighty comeback from Chinese Taipei to reach the semi-finals of the 2023 World Cup of Pool at Pazo de Feiras e Congresos de Lugo, Spain in partnership with The Asociación Gallega de Billar Pool (AGP), Xunta de Galicia and EIDF Solar to reach the quarter-finals live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, DAZN in Spain, the USA, Italy, and Brazil, Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics and Poland and broadcasters worldwide.
The Pinoys led by Johann Chua and James Aranas continued a memorable week that has seen them beat defending champions Spain A before knocking out Spain B to reach the quarter-finals by putting on a clinic against the Ko brothers, Pin Yi and Ping Chung. Two quick break and runs in succession bought an early buffer for the Filipinos and that momentum continued. At 4-0 down, the Ko’s got their opportunity at the table only to be brutally hooked with the two tucked up at the opposite end of the table to the cue ball.
Pin Yi kicked well out of the hook only to see the two ball in prime territory for Aranas to come through and clear up and extend the Philippine’s advantage from 4-0 t0 five nil in good time. With the races extended to nine for the quarters and semis, Chinese Taipei knew they had some window of opportunity with winner breaks also in action but it was going to be hard to come by with a six rack swing needed to even get level after seven racks. A rare missed pot on the five from Aranas allowed Chinese Taipei for the first time in the contest and they made their opposition pay for 6-1.
At 7-1 down, a brief safety exchange ensued with Chinese Taipei getting in for that deficit to be cut to five. An untimely dry break from the Ko’s in the following rack put the three-time champions in for their chance to reach the hill and they duly obliged.
In the 11th rack with the Philippines on the hill at 8-2, Chua was left hooked on the break letting Chinese Taipei have a sniff of what was to be a remarkable comeback. Pin Yi and Ping Chung hadn’t done much wrong to be on the end of the scoreline at the time and it showed when they finally had the break to keep cutting the lead from 8-2 to soon level pegging at 8-8, it wasn’t the Philippines had many chances in that time to close it out either, Pin Yi and Ping Chung were simply playing their best Nineball.
With the break in their favour, Chinese Taipei broke with Pin Yi and they were hooked from the break. Ping Chung went for the cut only to see his effort narrowly wide of the mark which allowed the Pinoys to step up and deliver the fatal blow for victory, something they could have only dreamed of doing have witnessed an almighty comeback from Chinese Taipei in one of the best matches in World Cup of Pool history.
Germany and Poland had a tough act to follow after the drama of the previous rack but neither was disappointed. Joshua Filler and Moritz Neuhausen have been tasked with clinching a third German title this week whilst Poland were on the hunt for their first after being finalists back in 2012.
Wiktor Zielinski and Konrad Juszczyszyn started out by taking the opening rack and soon led 3-1 with confidence exuding from the pair who had knocked out Albania convincingly in the previous round. There was no let up from the number six seeds and they made it 5-1 to be over the halfway stage without really breaking sweat. Zielinski missed a tough eight ball with the cue ball frozen to the rail in the seven rack and Germany had a window of opportunity to make their own remarkable comeback.
A dry break at 5-3 down for Germany was costly as Juszczyszyn put away the nine for 6-3. Juszczyszyn then delivered another winning nine for 7-3 with a break and run and it looked like mission impossible for Germany was on the cards. Zielinski scratched from the break in the next rack and that allowed Filler and Neuhausen in for their chance. Germany chipped away at the Polish advantage to turn things fully around to and reach the hill first at 8-7.
In the following rack Juszczyszyn made a huge shot on the three ball going rail first to get it defrosted from the rail but it wasn’t enough for the Poles to get in for hill hill after Zielinski missed a bank on the four ball which put Germany in to complete victory from behind.
The 2023 World Cup of Pool continues from 7pm tonight local time live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland with those in Spain, Italy, and the USA able to watch on DAZN. Fans in Scandinavia, Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland can watch on Viaplay with further broadcasters around the world. See where to watch in your country here with more broadcasters to be announced. Action will also be live on Matchroom.Live.
The 2023 World Cup of Pool will be played alongside the 31st Galician Team Pool Billiards Championship, which will bring together more than 1,000 players in the Pazo de Ferias y Congresos de Lugo, where more than 40 tables will be in action. The participants in this tournament considered the biggest in Europe, will compete for the regional titles and the prizes arranged by the Galician Association of Pool Billiards.