JAMES Aranas faltered under tremendous pressure and fell to former world champion Ko Pin Yi of Chinese Taipei, 13-11, Sunday night to settle for second in the Asian Pool Federation’s Asian 9-Ball Open in Singapore.
With the game knotted at 10 racks apiece, the 30-year-old Mr. Aranas had a heartbreaking scratch in the 21st frame that allowed Mr. Ko to get the rack, break the deadlock and the lead that he held on to until the end.
Mr. Ko then put on the finishing touches with a pair of spectacular break-and-runs in the 22nd and 24th in this alternate break format to crown himself Open champion.
The Taiwan World No. 4, who won world titles in 9-ball and 10-ball seven years ago, completed his mastery over the Filipinos as the former was also responsible in eliminating Johann Chua, 11-2, in the semis.
Mr. Aranas, for his part, turned back Japanese Naoyuki Oi, 11-6, in the other semis but ran into mighty Mr. Ko in the finals where he succumbed to the pressure.
Chezka Centeno cushioned the impact of Mr. Aranas’ stinging defeat by ruling the Women’s section following an 11-7 smashing of South Korean Seo Seoa hours before. — Joey Villar