Mark Angelo Mañez

Manila - 'Bukas ka na lang manigas!'

Filipino duo Johann Chua and James Aranas completed their fairy tale quest as they pounced Germany's Joshua Filler and Moritz Neuhausen, 11-7, and delivered the country's fourth World Cup of Pool title at the Pazo de Feiras e Congresos de Lugo, in Lugo, Spain Monday morning (Philippine time).

Photo Courtesy of Matchroom Pool

This year's tournament made its mark by crowning an unseeded team throughout the event's history who survived consecutive hill-hill affairs. Both Aranas and Chua split the US$ 60,000 (PHP 3.3 million) champions' purse while Filler and Neuhausen took home US$ 30,000 (PHP 1.65 million) as runners-up.

Both pairs survived several high profile teams which solidified their status as premier Pool duos ever to have appeared in recent iterations.

It also served as a repeat of the final between both nations, 14 years ago, when legends Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante thwarted fellow Hall-of-Famers Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann at home,11-9, when the tournament took place in Manila. The pair won the inaugural edition of the WPA/Matchroom Pool-sanctioned event in 2006.

Meanwhile, losing semi finalists Austria (Albin Ouschan/Mario He) and China (Wu Jiaqing/Wang Can) also get their lion's share worth US$ 15,000 (PHP 825,000).

'Dodong Diamond' provided superb tactical prowess when needed and 'Bad Koi' hitting every open shot presented all throughout.

Aranas started things out after capitalizing on Filler's foul break, but an early yet costly miss on the 9-ball in rack two gave Germany some early paddling against the Filipinos with Neuhausen sinking it.

A careless shot by Neuhausen on rack five started a what-would-be another mammoth streak, as they watched Chua and Aranas string up eight consecutive racks, 9-2, slowly turning a toe-to-toe affair into a cakewalk.

Germany, meanwhile, saw enough of the Filipino firepower and launched their own five rack spree, chopping it down at 9-7. Chua and Aranas, having survived hill-hill matches twice in 24 hours, found their rhythm back and sealed the deal, much to the delight of the Spanish crowd in attendance.

The Filipinos bucked all odds all the way to the top by dispatching reigning champions Francisco Sanchez Ruiz and David Alcaide (Spain A), 7-5. Less than 24 hours later, they made quick work of Spain's second pairing of Jonas Souto Comino and Jose Alberto Delgado (7-2).

Quarterfinals came and Chinese Taipei had them engaged in some serious tactical show that saw their huge lead fizzle. But an overcut stroke on the blue two by Ko Ping-chung plucked out some major sigh of relief and taking advantage of it sent them to the Final 4 against Austria.

Austria, winners in 2017 and 2019, tore a page from Chinese Taipei and forced hill-hill a second time against Aranas and Chua. A scratch from Mario He's break attempt on the decider opened the door of ending Austria's own record-equalizing job.

Germany, on the other hand, made quick work of New Zealand (7-2) and Canada (7-4) respectively. Sixth seed Poland (represented by Wiktor Zielinski and Konrad Juszczyzsyn) gave them a taste for their own dominance before losing steam in the end, 9-7.

Like their showdown with the Polish, Germany bucked a tough challenge from Wu and Wang, who came close to forcing the match to a decider.

Chua and Aranas will take a much-needed break before setting themselves in another major tournament in late-July.


PHILIPPINES (unseeded)


GERMANY (3rd seed)

def.1st seed  SPAIN A (7-5)

Last 32

def. unseeded NEW ZEALAND (7-2) 

def. 16th seed  SPAIN B (7-2)

Last 16

def. 14th seed CANADA (7-4)

def. 8th seed CHINESE TAIPEI (9-8)


def. 6th seed POLAND (9-7)

def. 4th seed AUSTRIA (9-8)


def. unseeded CHINA (9-7)

Edited by Jostle Doen Pilayre