ANTONIO Gabica failed in his bid for the World 9-Ball Championship as he bowed to the relentless run of Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann, 13-7, in the final early Saturday morning (Manila time) at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha, Qatar.
Hohmann hacked out a searing run by scoring a brilliant eight straight racks in the alternate-break format, race-to-13 finale after trailing 4-6 early on.
The German captured his second world 9-ball crown exactly 10 years after winning his first, and became the second player since American Earl Strickland (1991, 2002) to win the championship twice.
On the way to the final, the 34-year-old Hohmann beat five Filipino players including Carlo Biado in the semis. He will assume the world no. 1 ranking following his latest feat.
Gabica, now based in Qatar where he works as an assistant coach of the national team, couldn’t get the breaks going, including a miss on the 5-ball in the 10th game despite holding a two-rack lead.
That miscue by the 41-year-old Filipino paved the way for Hohmann to score consecutive racks on the way to winning the $36,000 top prize.
“I didn’t feel the pressure on that shot,” Gabica said “I was just careless. I’ve played 30 years and I have many experiences.”
“I got upset because I was ready to go 7-4 up. That’s a big, big mistake. I think at that moment I had too much confidence. Maybe this is a learning experience for me. I’ll be thinking about that 5-ball for one week.”
Gabica, who beat Karl Boyes of Great Britain, 11-6, to advance to the finals, lauded Hohmann’s performance.
“Thorsten played very well and he’s very fit. As he got more of a lead on me, he got more confident. That’s the way it is in pool. But me, I started to feel the pressure,” said Gabica, a gold medal winner in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea.
Gabica settled for the runner-up purse worth $18,000.
Hohmann averted an all-Filipino showdown for the title by stopping the giant-killing ways of Biado. He also defeated former world 9-ball champion Francisco Bustamante, Jeff De Luna, and Dennis Orcollo during his run.
“I’m really proud of myself,” Hohmann said. “It means a lot to me. If I had to choose between my first World 9-ball and here, I couldn’t make that decision because winning the first world championship back in Cardiff was incredible and to do it again ten years later, I’m just speechless.
“I’ve been around for 20 years now. I’m not a youngster anymore. I’ve made many mistakes. And I’ve learned from my mistakes. It doesn’t mean that you don’t make mistakes again. Everything just worked for me.
“I was in stroke. I came from a big victory that meant a lot to me a couple of weeks ago. In my personal life I’m really happy right now. And I thought I really could win this from the beginning to the end. I never had a doubt,” said Hohmann.