Yapp stuns world No. 3 Ko
S'pore's 9-ball pool star warms up for SEA Games in style with comeback win over Taiwanese opponent
Singapore pool player Aloysius Yapp will head into next month's SEA Games brimming with confidence, after claiming the Golden Break 9 Ball Open Championship in Malaysia.
He certainly did it in style during Saturday's final in Subang Jaya.
Not only did the 21-year-old have to overcome defending champion Ko Pin-yi - the Taiwanese world No. 3 was the world 9-ball champion in 2015 - he also impressively came back from 12-9 down to win the marathon best-of-25 series 13-12.
His first competitive victory over Ko earned him a RM30,000 (S$9,600) winner's cheque.
Yapp told The New Paper: "I have played him multiple times in the past and beat him only once in an exhibition match.
"Going into the final, I was very nervous and I'm happy I was able to pull through and win.
"I tried my best to keep my calm and stick to my game plan, which was to focus on my own play, capitalise on his mistakes, and make sure I was 100 per cent committed to every shot I make.
"When I was down 12-9, I just kept telling myself not to give up, just give it my all and hope luck was with me.
"Thankfully, I was able to catch up and win."
Yapp's breakthrough came in 2014, when he won the 9-ball pool category at the Under-19 World Junior Championships in Shanghai, and was named 2015 Sportsboy of the Year for his achievement.
However, in his first SEA Games two years ago, he crashed out of the men's 9-ball pool singles quarter-finals, losing 9-4 to Myanmar's Maung Maung.
In the doubles competition, he and Toh Lian Han lost to the Philippines at the semi-final stage.
Those setbacks, coupled with this latest victory, will serve as motivation for the world No. 45, as he looks forward to the National 9 Ball Championship in Singapore on Aug 5, which serves as the final tune-up before the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
"Currently, I feel I still have a lot to learn in the game, and I will keep on striving harder to improve and become a better player," said Yapp, who is currently playing pool full-time before his National Service enlistment after the biennial Games.
"This tournament gave me good preparation for the upcoming SEA Games. I hope to do well there."