Brunei duo Taufiq, Azim finish top eight in nine-ball doubles

Fadhil Yunus in Manila, the Philippines

Brunei Darussalam pool duo Ahmad Taufiq bin Murni and Muhammad Azim bin Abu Bakar pushed Philippines’ pair Jeffrey Ignacio and Warren Kiamco all the way during a 9-8 defeat in the quarterfinals of the Nine-Ball Pool Doubles in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at the Manila Hotel Tent in Manila, Philippines last night.

The pair had earlier booked their place in the last eight following a 9-7 win over Indonesia’s pair of Sharoni and Andri in the afternoon session.

Ahmad Taufiq and Muhammad Azim were neck-to-neck with their opponents, backed by a fervent home crowd, as a frame down at 6-5 reignited hopes of a last-four appearance.

But, the Filipinos with professional star Warren Kiamco in their ranks, went to the hill after a solid runout which left the Bruneian pair a three-frame sequence.

With the first Philippines team comprising Carlos Biado and Johann Chua through to the semis after a 9-3 win against Indonesia’s Jefry Zen and Nasution Irsal Afrinneza, Kiamco and Ignacio looked to join their countrymen on the draw.

A clean break opened up the table and they looked odds on to seal the match but the positioning for the nine-ball gave Kiamco a tough shot.

He measured his options and decided to go to the middle pocket but his game-winning attempt hit the jaws of the pocket.

The Bruneian pair was given a new leash of life but it was a shot to be taken under immense pressure with a miss all but cost them a route to the match.

Ahmad Taufiq dealt with the pressure well and pocketed the nine-ball to give them within one frame before a clean break led the way for a point that put both teams in a winner-takes-all situation.

The Filipinos took full use of their turn for a break and a repeat of their recent frame conversion set them up perfectly to wrap up the game.

Kiamco faced enormous pressure before he took his shot for the eight-ball and was a relieved man when it just dropped on the corner pocket to allow Ignacio to give Philippines victory.

Brunei Darussalam’s Ahmad Taufiq in action. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS