By JEROME LAGUNZAD
Team Philippines’ Carlo Biado and Jeffrey De Luna are in for a tough grind against England counterparts Imran Majid and Mark Gray today in the Last 16 stage of the 2018 World Cup of Pool at the Luwan Arena in Shanghai, China.
Biado, the reigning world 9-ball kingpin, and De Luna, rated No. 16 in the world, are determined to come up with a strong follow-up to a 7-3 victory over New Zealand’s Matt Edwards and Marco Teutscher in the opening round last Wednesday.
But it’s easier said than done since the Filipino poolsharks, rated fourth in the 32-team field, are expected to have their hands full against the 13th-ranked English rivals, who made quite an impressive showing in a 7-2 win over South Korea last Wednesday night.
Gray is hoping he can rediscover the flair that he and former partner Dary Peach had against the Philippines, then composed of legendary Francisco “Django” Bustamante and Dennis Orcollo, which they defeated in the semifinal round in 2008.
However, England fell prey to United States, 11-7, back in the winner-take-all final.
“Me and Daryl Peach beat the Philippines en route to the final a few years ago,” Gray was quoted as saying in a report posted on matchroompool.com. “They are one of the biggest nations in pool so we know we are in for a tough time and we will be underdogs. But I like being the underdog.”
Also clashing in the afternoon session that starts at 1:30 p.m. is German pair of Ralf Souquet and Joshua Filler against China’s Team B of Dejing Kong and Ming Wang, who are ranked 12th in the world’s most prestigious 9-ball doubles tournament that dangles a total pot money of $250,000.
No. 3 Chinese Taipei, which proved too strong for Albania, 7-1, behind the combination of Chang Jung-lin and Cheng Yu-hsuan, will also resume its title quest in the Last 16 stage against the No. 14 Greek pair of Alexander Kazakis and Nick Malaj, who blanked Hong Kong, 7-0, in the first round.