With the elimination of the survival system, LPBA young guns are unleashing their hidden skills to produce interesting results.
In the LPBA Round of 32 of the 3rd Tour ‘Hanacard PBA-LPBA Championship’ at the Kintex PBA Stadium in Goyang, South Korea, on April 22, Kwon Bal-hae rallied to defeat Surong Piavi in straight sets 2-1 (9-11, 11-10, 9-8) to advance to the Round of 16.
This marks the second time this season that Surong has failed to make it past the round of 32 after the season opener at the Blue One Resort Championships. This time, he had to quietly drop his cue in front of an LPBA youngster born in 2004, a whopping 14 years his junior.
Kwon Bal-hae, who defeated Long on the day, made his PBA debut in the 22-23 season. His rookie season didn’t make much of a splash. He was stuck in the Round of 128 for most of the season, with his best showing coming in the Round of 64 at the Crown Hae Taek Championship.
However, this season, with the LPBA Survival system gone, he started to improve his performance and finally won a new victory over his nemesis, Song. The best result came as a bonus. In the previous two tournaments, he was awarded the “Well-Banked Top Ranking” for his highest average of 1.786 against Hwang Min-ji, who is three years older than him.
“I played my best and I’m happy to win,” said Kwon Bal-hae to the media after the match.
The 19-year-old has no prior amateur experience. She started playing pool as a high school freshman and quickly turned professional, defeating the LPBA’s reigning champion in just over a year. He gave up his high school education to pursue his GED to focus on billiards.
The match against Strong was a close one. It was a back-and-forth chase, with some close calls. Kwon’s victory was purely an upset. Long had already taken the first set, 11-9, and Kwon fought back to within one point in the second, and the third was tied at 8-8.
By this time, he had already served out the fourth game with four unforced errors. “I thought I would hit it when I had the chance,” said Kwon, whose inexperience could have shaken him, but he showed the grit of a youngster.
When asked what he would like to improve on, he said, “There were a lot of balls that I had to hit at important moments, but I missed them because my heart was heavy.” “Next time, I will strengthen my mental game and stick to the basics and hit well,” he vowed.
Kwon Bal-hae will face Kim Jin-ah (Hana Card) in the round of 16 on April 24 for a spot in the quarterfinals 먹튀검증.