Guinness 9-Ball Tour Grand Final Cues Off In Bali
Expect riveting world-class pool action and plenty of surprises when the Guinness 9 Ball Tour Grand Final kicks off tomorrow, where Asia's top ten cue artists compete for bragging rights as Asia's Pool King for 2007. The lucrative US$70,000 event will be held at the luxurious Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Bali between 31 August and 2 September.
Today's players draw proved to be an exciting preview to a great tournament. Group A sees tournament favourites Wu Chia-Ching and Yang Ching-Shun from Chinese Taipei, local favourite Ricky Yang of Indonesia, Ronato Alcano from the Philippines, and India's Dharminder Singh Lilly grouped together to compete for a place in the semi-finals. A mouth-watering tie sees the rematch between Yang Ching-Shun and Alcano, where the Filipino will aim to avenge his loss in the Shanghai Leg final earlier this month. Refusing to be outdone is local bet Ricky Yang who will surely produce an inspired performance with the partisan support from the local crowd, and fulfil his dream to end the 2007 season with a victory on home soil.
In Group B, current Philippine National Champion Lee Vann Corteza looks to be the man to watch after winning the recently concluded Turning Stone 9-Ball Tournament and finishing as runner-up in the 2007 Challenge of Champions in August. He will face a stern test against the Chinese Taipei heavyweights in Chang Jung-Lin and Chao Fong-Pang, who are also strong candidates for the Grand Champion title. Adding excitement to the mix is Singapore 's standout cuiest Bernard Tey and Ibrahim Amir of Malaysia who could always spring an upset.
Harvey Davis, ESPN STAR Sports Senior Director, Events Management Group, said: "The Guinness 9 Ball Tour indeed has special significance to us, not only as a showcase of Asia's finest pool talent. Over the years, it has firmly established itself as a gateway to world-class competition - offering young and up-and-coming players to shine against some of the region's - and some say the world's - best cuemasters. In fact, it has become the proving ground for many of today's pool greats Asia has ever produced.
"I am proud to say that we have been blessed to have been an instrumental part of unveiling the new talents over the season. The increasing number of Asian players and their consistent success on the world stage is affirmation that this Tour has contributed to the growth of Asia as the world's dominant Pool continent. And, we can only expect this trend to continue."
Said Ms. Fe Olivia Mir, Marketing Manager from DIAGEO Indonesia : "Indonesia is the biggest market in Asia and it has been a rewarding journey for Guinness and pool fans all over the country where both the beer and the sport are enjoyed immensely. We thank our consumers for the support that they have given us by being at the games and participating in our local pool tournaments and other promotions.
"As we close the 2007 tournament and prepare for 2008, I can only tell you that the Guinness 9 Ball tour is just the first of many exciting initiatives that Guinness has planned. We will be celebrating 250 years in 2009. Between then and now, trust that we will do our best to inspire everyone with Guinness' goodness and greatness."
Playing for glory, prestige and the champion's prize of US$32,000, the Grand Final will take on a special format where the main draw of ten players will be divided into two groups of five. They will compete in a single round-robin format in the group stage where the top two players in each group will advance to the semi-finals. The semi-finals will follow a single game knockout format. There will be alternate breaks with the group stage following a race to nine, while the semi-finals and the finals will be a race to 11. In the semis and finals, a player must win by two clear racks up to a maximum of race to 13.
Now bigger and better with the partnership forged between ESPN STAR Sports and Guinness, the Tour brings all the exhilarating pool drama back in a full-tournament setting with Asia's elite cue masters. The event now offers the all-time biggest prize money – US$320,000, which is double from last year's US$160,000. The Guinness 9 Ball Tour now has the most stops ever– increasing the number of legs to six from last year's four and have now included tomorrow's Grand Final leg for the first time. In addition, the top ten players in the Grand Final have qualified for November's 2007 WPA World 9 Ball Championship in Manila at the internationally acclaimed Araneta Coliseum. The Guinness 9-Ball Tour remains the only ranking tour in Asia for players to qualify for the WPA World 9 Ball Championship.
Pool fans will also have a shot at the limelight in the finale of Asia 's first-ever International Guinness Black Challenge this weekend, a Pro-Am Tournament for consumers. The Guinness Black Challenge is part of Guinness' efforts to promote the Guinness 9 Ball Tour where winners from each region win a pair of tickets to Bali with accommodation, compete in the International Guinness Black Challenge from other markets, as well as watch Asia's top-class players the Grand Final.
Over the last five months, the Guinness Black Challenge swept across Asia in search of Asia's best amateur players. This Saturday, 11 winners from Indonesia , Malaysia , Singapore and China will play for four places and pair up with the Guinness Ambassadors - Alcano, Ricky Yang of Indonesia, Cherie Chang of Chinese Taipei and her compatriot and the leader on the Order of Merit list, Yang Ching Sun – to compete for the top prize of US$1,000 in the knock-out competition. The runner up will win US$500 and two losing semi-finalists will pocket US$250 each.
ESPN STAR Sports, Asia's number one sports broadcaster, dedicates 15 hours of live and exclusive coverage for this thrilling leg. Telecast of Asia's premier pool competition will be carried LIVE on STAR Sports with fifteen hours of exhilarating competition from August 31 – September 2. Broadcast times are as follows:
Fri, 31 August, 2007 from 5.00 pm (HKT) Preliminaries (3 Matches)
Sat, 1 September, 2007 from 2.00pm (HKT) Quarterfinals (4 Matches)
Sun, 2 September, 2007 from 12:00pm (HKT)
Semi-finals & Finals (3 Matches)
(Competition on Friday will start at 5pm ; TV Schedules subject to change without prior notice)
For more information on the Tour, please check out http://www.guinness9balltour.com/ . For the latest schedules and program information on ESPN STAR Sports, catch us on the net at http://www.espnstar.com/.
The Guinness 9Ball Tour is sanctioned by the Asian Pocket Billiard Union (APBU) and organized by ESPN STAR Sports' Event Management Group (EMG). Guinness is the title sponsor for the Tour. The local sanctioning body is Persatuan Olahraga Billiar Seluruh Indonesia (POBSI). Iwan Simonis and Aramith supply the official tablecloth and official balls respectively. Brunswick Metro provides the official pool table while Predator is the official cue. The Official Venue is the Grand Hyatt Hotel. STAR Sports is the official broadcaster.