MANILA, Philippines — Jeff de Luna and Roberto Gomez snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, rallying past Americans Skyler Woodward and Billy Thorpe, 7-5, to clinch a quarterfinal spot in the $250,000 World Cup of Pool in England.
De Luna and Gomez struggled big-time early on as the steadier Americans stormed to a huge 5-0 cushion in the race-to-seven Second Round encounter Wednesday at Stadium MK in Milton Keynes.
But the Pinoy aces didn’t waver.
They finally got on the board in the sixth rack and used this momentum to unleash a fiery windup that left Woodward and Thorpe dazed in their wake.
The turning point was the ninth, where both teams had a hard time with the 7-ball. A miss by Thorpe eventually gave Gomez and De Luna the opportunity to clean up the rack and move to within 4-5.
The Filipinos drew level in the 10th set then pounced on a USA miscue in the next to reach the hill. With neat shotmaking, they closed it out in the 12th.
The dramatic victory kept De Luna and Gomez on course for the Philippines’ fourth World Cup of Pool crown.
The duo will gun for a semifinal berth against Estonia’s Denis Grabe and Mark Magi, who prevailed in a hill-hill encounter over Great Britain A’s Jayson Shaw and Chris Melling, 7-6.
De Luna and Gomez, who opened their campaign with a 7-3 drubbing of Great Britain B’s Kelly Fisher and Allison Fisher, are seeking to join two-time champs Efren Reyes and Django Bustamante (2006 and 2009) and 2013 victors Dennis Orcollo and Lee Van Corteza in the elite club.