The fancied Philippine billiards team failed to duplicate its triumph four years ago as it bowed to China-2, 4-2, yesterday in the finals of the 2014 World Pool Team Championship in Beijing, China.
Former world champion Dennis Orcollo was the first to fall, yielding to Liu Haitao, 6-4, in the 8-ball men’s singles before Carlo Biado and Lee Van Corteza suffered the same fate, getting sideswiped by Wang Can and Dang Jinhu, 6-2, in the 8-ball men’s doubles.
Corteza could not regain his fiery form after absorbing an 8-5 defeat to Jinhu in the 9-ball men’s singles.
With the Filipinos trailing and the Chinese needing only a single win in sealing the championship, two-time world 10-ball champion Rubilen Amit kept the Filipinos’ hopes alive with an 8-4 victory over Fu Xiaofang in the 9-ball women’s singles going to the final two 10-ball matches.
Orcollo came back and breathed life in their campaign with a 7-5 win over Wang in the 10-ball men’s singles, but Biado and Amit faltered in the mixed doubles with a 7-5 loss to Haitao and Liu Shasha to give the Chinese the victory.
A win for the Filipinos in the mixed doubles could have sent the match into a shootout, but the Chinese were too tough to handle.
Still, the Filipinos will go home with a $40,000 (P1.75 million) runner-up purse. The Chinese, meanwhile, pocketed the $80,000 (P3.5 million) top prize.
The PH team entered the finals as a heavy favorite, having dumped defending champion Taiwan, 4-2 in the quarterfinals and having routed China-1, 4-0, in the semis.
The second Chinese team, meanwhile, threaded through the eye of the needle and survived a gritty Japanese crew, 4-2, to book a finals seat.
Still, Orcollo hopes their runner-up finish will still help revive the billiards program in the country, which he thinks has nearly died over the last three years.