Billiards whiz Ramil “Bebeng” Gallego trounced Ro Li-wen of Taiwan, 9-3, in the finals to sweep of the Japan Open 9-Ball Championship in Tokyo, Japan.Gallego thus became the fifth straight Filipino to rule the prestigious event participated in by more than 400 cue artists from all over the world.To reach the finals, Gallego hurdled past compatriot Efren “Bata” Reyes, 9-2, in the quarterfinals and Japanese Tanaka Masaki, 9-3, in the semifinals. Ro, on the other hand, edged fellow Taiwanese Ko Pin-yi, 9- 8, in the quarterfinals and stunned former World Pool king Alex Pagulayan, 9-4, in the Last 4.
Francisco “Django” Bustamante, the fourth Filipino competitor in the tournament, bowed to Pagulayan, 6-9, in the quarterfinals. While being interviewed by a Japanese reporter on TV, Gallego was teary-eyed because he said he wanted to win this title very badly.
With the win, Gallego followed the footsteps of former Japan Open champions Dennis Orcollo (2008), Pagulayan (2007), Antonio Lining (2006), Reyes (2005) and Bustamante (2002). Gallego nearly captured the Japan Open crown in 2003 but lost in the finals. It was his first title since winning the Manny Villar Cup Bulacan leg in July 2008.