Johann Chua-James Aranas friendship culminates with World Cup of Pool crown

Delfin Dioquino

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Johann Chua-James Aranas friendship culminates with World Cup of Pool crown

WINNING KISS. Champions Johann Chua (left) and James Aranas pose with the World Cup of Pool trophy.

Matchroom Pool Twitter page

James Aranas and Johann Chua deliver a record fourth World Cup of Pool title for the the Philippines after a superb campaign against 31 other nations

MANILA, Philippines – Friendship proved to be the building block for Johann Chua and James Aranas as they ruled the World Cup of Pool.

Aranas and Chua won the Philippines a record fourth World Cup of Pool crown in Lugo, Spain after a superb campaign that saw them come out on top against the best doubles teams from 31 other nations.

“We’ve known each other since we were 13 years old. We went to school together. We’ve been through a lot,” said the 31-year-old Chua. “To be able to win this one with him, it is really such an amazing feeling.”

The chemistry and familiarity between Chua and Aranas were instrumental in their championship run as they survived a couple of close shaves deep into the week-long tournament that wrapped up on Sunday, July 2.

Pitted against the formidable Chinese Taipei siblings of Ko Pin-yi and Ko Ping-chung in the last eight, Aranas and Chua squandered a six-rack lead while being on the hill before they recovered in time to hack out a 9-8 win.

The Filipinos appeared to have run out of luck in their semifinal duel against Austria’s Albin Ouschan and Mario He when they blew an 8-4 lead and ceded four straight racks to the two-time champions.

But Chua and Aranas pulled off another 9-8 escape to arrange a title clash with Germany’s Joshua Filler and Moritz Neuhausen, who they beat 11-7 to complete their championship romp and pocket the top purse of $60,000.

Aranas said he banked on Chua, who won a nine-ball gold in the Southeast Asian Games and reigned in the World Teams 10-Ball Championship with teammates Rubilen Amit and Carlo Biado last year, during tense moments.

“He makes all the extremely [tough] shots. I can lean on him,” said Aranas of Chua.

Chua and Aranas joined an elite company as they became the third Filipino pair to top the World Cup of Pool after the iconic Efren “Bata” Reyes-Francisco “Django” Bustamante duo and Dennis Orcollo-Lee Vann Corteza tandem.

Reyes and Francisco ruled the inaugural edition in 2006 and repeated in 2009, while Orcollo and Corteza won in 2013.

“It has always been our dream to have our names there,” said Chua. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.