By Mark Angelo Mañez

PHOTO: Matchroom Sport Pool

Philippine cue masters Jeff de Luna and Roberto Gomez take on sisters Kelly and Allison Fisher in the preliminary stages of the 2021 World Cup of Pool, starting May 9th at the Milton Keynes Stadium.

Thirty-two pairs from 31 nations all vie for the US$250,000 total pot, with the champions taking home US$60,000 in the winners' break format.

Austria's Mario He and Albin Ouschan will try to join the Philippines and China in the elite group of nations winning the prestigious doubles tournament thrice. They will also attempt to shatter their tie with the former for having the most World Cups won by the same pair. They will be taking on Slovakia's Jabub Koniar and Jaroslav Polách in the preliminary stages.

Filipino legends Efren 'Bata' Reyes and Francisco 'Django' Bustamante were the first duo to win the coveted doubles tournament twice, winning the inaugural edition in 2006 and in 2009 in front of a solid home crowd when Manila hosted. Dennis Orcollo and Lee Van Corteza brought home the country's third title in 2013 with a cliffhanger over Dutch pair Neils Feijen and Marc Bijsterbosch.

Great Britain's A team consist of last year's Mosconi Cup MVP Jayson Shaw and Chris Melling, meanwhile take on Belarus' Yana Shut-Halliday and Margarita Fefilova.

Other notable matches kicking off include Japan's tandem of Naoyuki Oi and Masato Yoshioka taking on Philipp Stojanovic and Roberto Bartol of Croatia. Mosconi Cup veterans Skyler Woodward and Billy Thorpe will lead the Americans as they take on Australia's Justin Sajich and Ivan Li.

The tournament will kick off with a race-to-7 preliminary round and conclude on May 14, with two teams squaring off in a race-to-13 final. All matches will be of winners' break format.