Fadhil Yunus in Manila, the Philippines
Brunei Darussalam’s pool competitor Ahmad Taufiq bin Murni wiped out a four-frame deficit to earn a 9-6 victory over Laos’ Hongsavady Vongxay and a place in the last 16 of the 10-ball singles at the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at the Manila Hotel Tent yesterday.
The national cueist finally got off the mark on the fifth frame and won his next six frames to get the lead which he never looked surrendering on his way to victory.
The six-ball appeared to be a stumbling block for the two-ball but potting success led to a table clear-out, a move which saw Taufiq close the gap by just one frame.
Hongsavady seemed odds on to break Ahmad Taufiq’s run but a scratch after his attempt on the eight-ball gifted the latter a frame and subsequently the lead.
The Laotian ended his drought after a clean runout on the table to make it 6-5 but a good safety play from Taufiq on the following frame helped open up a two-frame cushion.
Taufiq continued his momentum and went to the hill before his opponent pulled one back after navigating his way from a tricky shot on the 10-ball.
But the Bruneian wrapped up victory in the next frame and secured a place in the last-eight. His victory reignited the country’s hopes of a historic medal in billiards.
Taufiq hit the reset button and took time to reflect after the setback of going four sets down before finding his feet to get victory.
“I took time out to refresh and go over the basics and take one ball at a time,” Taufiq told the Bulletin.
Taufiq heaped praise on his Laotian opponent adding that he has experience competing in the SEA Games.
“He is a very good player. He is a SEA Games player and I rarely meet him in other tournaments in the region.”
With Taufiq having a session off after three games in two days, the Brunei cueist will be working on his breaks before he returns for the last 16 against Vietnam’s Do The Kien.
“The break is very important. Whoever who gets a good break will be able to clear and he would have won a point,” said Taufiq, who is a regular fixture in the multi-sport meet.
Asked on his thoughts about his close match with partner Mohammad Azim bin Abu Bakar in the doubles against the Philippines, he said, “Our game was almost perfect. In the last rack, there is little we can do. It was the Philippines’ turn for the break and they cleared the table.”