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Slumping Orcollo wary of Taufiq
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dennis Orcollo didn't exactly seem to ooze confidence when met yesterday, the famed Filipino claiming to be suffering from a dip in form ahead of his match against Brunei's No 1 cueist today.

The World No 12 is set to face Ahmad Taufiq Murni in the first round of the men's 10-ball singles at the 2013 SEA Games today, but talking to the Filipino, it looks like Taufiq is going up against a player who thinks his 'A' game has deserted him.

Though he helped the Philippines clinch the prestigious World Cup of Pool for the third time when he teamed up with Lee Vann Corteza in September, and claimed the 2013 US Open 10-Pocket Championships in July, this week's SEA Games campaign has not been as successful.

He squeezed past Malaysia's Ibrahim Amir 9-8 in Sunday's first round before losing to Thailand's Nitiwat Kanjanasri 9-6 in yesterday's quarter-finals, though the Thai is hardly an unknown in the region himself after reaching the final of the 2011 World Cup of Pool.

More worrisome for Orcollo than the loss, though, is that he thinks he is going through a rough patch of results.

"I really didn't like what happened. I played bad... Really bad," he said of the loss to Nitiwat.

"Unfortunately this past month I haven't been playing so well, but all players are like that. It's almost at the end of the year and I'm struggling, and I don't know why.

"I've played in more than 30 tournaments this year so that hectic schedule might be a reason.

"It's burnout maybe... I'm not enjoying my pool at the moment - I'm feeling really uncomfortable.

"But I've had some good results this year and based on my experience, these things (poor form) will come," said Orcollo, who reached the last-32 of his last event, the All Japan Championship.

Nitiwat went on to lose to eventual champion Ricky Yang in the semi-finals, the Indonesian going on to defend the title he won at the last SEA Games in his home country in 2011 after holding off Malaysia's KT Tan 9-7 in yesterday's final.

Taufiq's dreams of a 9-ball podium finish ended on Sunday when he was edged 9-8 by Thailand's Tanut Makkamontee in the first round after a mistake on safety play put the Thai back on the table.

"I'll need to minimise my mistakes on safety plays," noted Taufiq last night.

"But mistakes always happen... I missed three shots on Sunday," said Taufiq, adding that the raucous atmosphere at the Pool & Billiards Centre, Wunna Theikdi Sports Complex - where swarms of home fans root their country on - does not affect him.

"You're focused when you're playing. No matter what the crowd shouts, if you're focused you won't care," he insisted.

He will need all the focus he can muster going up against Orcollo, who is ranked second in the latest Asian Pool Billiards Union rankings.

Though Taufiq, who is 41st on the APBU rankings, has now seen his 9-ball campaign end at the first hurdle for the third time after similar defeats in 2007 and 2011, his opponent has had no such problems at the regional meet.

He won the 9-ball doubles event with Alex Pangulayan at the 2005 Games in Manila, took 9-ball singles bronze at the 2009 Games in Laos and won the 8-ball singles competition in Indonesia.

Taufiq might not share the same pedigree as Orcollo, but the latter certainly isn't taking the Bruneian for granted.

"I know the kid," said Orcollo. "I've seen him around and he's a good player. We'll see what happens tomorrow."

Courtesy from Brunei Times