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Gabica falls in final

Antonio “Gaga“ Gabica failed in his bid to win his first World 9Ball Championship after losing to Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, 13-7, in the final held early yesterday at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha, Qatar.

Gabica led 6-4 midway into the match when Hohmann stormed back to take the next eight racks to virtually secure his second World 9-Ball crown and the first winning the prestigious event in 2003.

Hohmann, who had tasted success in Manila with victories in the Philippine Open and World Cup of Pool, earned the top purse of $36,000 (P1,548,000).

The US-based German ruled the event by defeating five Filipinos that began by the early elimination of 2010 winner Francisco “Django“ Bustamante in the loser’s bracket.

He also eliminated former World 8-Ball king Dennis Orcollo, Jeff de Luna and Carlo Biado in the knockout rounds.

The 41-year old Gabica was hoping to achieve the pinnacle of his pool career, seven years after taking the gold medal in the Asian Games 9-Ball event in the same city.

Gabica, now based in the Qatari capital as an assistant coach of the country’s national team, settled for the runner-up prize of $18,000 (P477,000).

His road towards the final began by bagging two matches in the double-elimination then trouncing Nguyen Anh Tuan of Vietnam (11-8), Oliver Ortmann of Germany (11-8), Ko Pin Yi of Taiwan (11-9), Nick Van Den Berg of The Netherlands (11-10) and Karl Boyes of England (116).

He was hoping to join Efren “Bata“ Reyes, Alex Pagulayan and Bustamante in the list of Filipinos that won the World 9-Ball crown. (Jonas Terrado)