Brunei’s Muhammad Azim ends 9-ball campaign after Myanmar loss

Fadhil Yunus in Manila, the Philippines

Brunei Darussalam’s pool player Muhammad Azim bin Abu Bakar’s maiden appearance in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games came to an end after a 9-4 defeat to Myanmar’s Phone Myint Kyaw in the men’s 9-ball pool singles at the Manila Hotel Tent yesterday.

The national cueist had to play an additional game to make the grade in the top 16, an arrangement similar to his compatriot Ahmad Taufiq bin Murni in the 10-ball pool singles.

The game was delicately poised when both players traded frames twice but the Myanmar cueist found rhythm and embarked on a run of four straight points.

Myint’s choice of safety shot proved effective as a missed shot from his opponent gave him access to provide the platform for an open table. When the two-ball dropped, the Myanmar ace was never in doubt to empty the table.

Myint, who already won gold in the 9-ball pool doubles alongside Aung Moe Thu, saw his cue ball make perfect contact with the eight-ball after he was offered route back to the table, leaving positioning for the nine-ball a formality.

Brunei Darussalam’s cueist Muhammad Azim bin Abu Bakar in action. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

Muhammad Azim, who played in the featured table, kept in touch after pulling two frames back but three straight frames for Myint was enough to cement his place in the last-16.

The Bruneian’s conqueror will be joined by Singapore’s Toh Lian Han who came out on top against Myanmar’s Aung Moe Thu after a 9-6 victory in the other last-18 match.

The final hope for Brunei in billiard sports now rests solely on Ahmad Taufiq’s shoulders, who will kick off his men’s 9-ball singles campaign tomorrow.

The billiard sports team began their campaign on a winning note after they saw off Indonesia’s Sahroni and Andri 9-7 in the men’s 9-ball doubles, earning them a place in the quarterfinals where they met Filipino hope Warren Kiamco and Jeffrey Ignacio.

Brunei, represented by Ahmad Taufiq and Muhammad Azim, were one frame away of winning a historic billiard sports medal at the SEA Games.

With the tie at 8-8, Kiamco avoided disaster when his attempt for the eight-ball passed the jaws of the pocket much to the relief of the home crowd. Potting success dashed Brunei’s faint hopes of making a visit to the table where sporting history would have been imminent.

The individual matches followed for the Brunei team with Ahmad Taufiq emerging victorious in his last-18 match with a 9-6 win over Laos’ Hongsavady Vongxay.

Muhammad Azim was handed a tough draw against Filipino heavyweight Dennis Orcollo and was knocked out of the competition after a 9-4 defeat. Ahmad Taufiq followed his countryman through the exit door after a 9-2 defeat over Vietnam’s Do The Kien.