The Philippines caused a major upset by winning the 2023 World Cup of Pool in Lugo – defeating both Spanish teams on home soil along the way.
The Spanish pairing of Francisco Sánchez Ruíz and David Alcaide entered the tournament as the favorites having lifted the trophy in 2022, but they were dumped out in the first round by the Philippines pair – who then defeated the Spanish B team of Jonas Souto Comino and Jose Alberto Delgado in the second round as well.
James Aranas and Johann Chua then faced the most nerve-jangling of routes to the final – needing last-game shootouts to defeat Chinese Taipei and Austria.
In the final, they would meet Germany, although thankfully for their blood pressure, the Filipino pair would enjoy a more comfortable 11-7 victory at the Pazo de Feiras e Congresos de Lugo.
It was the fourth time that the Philippines have won the World Cup of Pool. Spain’s wait for a second championship win continues.
Which Snooker Players Have Mastered Pool?
If things had gone differently for some of the most famous names in snooker, they might have been representing their countries at the World Cup of Pool in Spain instead.
Mark Selby is the 5/1 joint-favorite in the snooker betting markets for the 2024 World Championship with Ronnie O’Sullivan and for good reason – the Englishman reached the sixth world final of his career earlier this year, of which he has won four.
And Selby has proven himself to be a versatile cueman over the years, reaching the final of the Chinese Eight-Ball World Championship in 2015.
As the only snooker-pool dual world champion on the planet, Selby’s place in the annals of cue sports is secure.
Earl Strickland is considered to be one of the best pool players in history, but even he couldn’t handle the extraordinary skills of seven-time snooker world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan when they met at the 1996 Mosconi Cup.
The Rocket bested Strickland 12-9 in their head-to-head at the tournament – despite never having played nine-ball pool before.
Mind you, O’Sullivan wasn’t the first snooker ace to dabble successfully in pool.
Steve Davis, the six-time snooker world champion, represented Team Europe at two editions of the Mosconi Cup in 1995 and 2002 – winning twice.
He even made it all the way to the final of the World Pool League, where he lost out to multiple-time world champion Efran Reyes, but he would have his revenge on the Filipino when he defeated his nemesis at the World Nine-Ball Championship in 2000.
Known as one of the most naturally gifted cuemen of all time, Jimmy White would curiously never win snooker’s World Championship.
But the Whirlwind did enjoy plenty of success on the green baize, and when he switched to the blue felt of the pool table he also excelled.
His battle with Reyes at the 1999 World Pool Championships is considered to be one of the best matches in history, while at the 1995 Mosconi Cup he defeated the great Lou Butera in singles action before teaming up with his old buddy Alex Higgins to best American duo Bobby Hunter and Mike Massey.
Although he is yet to experience the kind of success of those trailblazers that went before him, Judd Trump has made a solid start to his fledgling pool career.
Although snooker remains the priority for the world number four, he has taken advantage of gaps in the sport’s calendar to compete in pool tournaments – including the US Open in 2021.
— I ?? Snooker (@ILoveSnooker_) June 14, 2022
Trump would win three of his matches at the nine-ball event, which isn’t too bad when you consider he was a complete novice in the sport. Incidentally, Ruíz and Alcaide both progressed to the last 16.
Will we ever see another dual snooker-pool world champion?