South KoreaMa Minh Cam defeated Frederic Caudron 3-1 in the group stage finals of the Professional Billiards Association World Championship (PBA), on the evening of 23 March.
Having won their previous two matches in the group stage, Minh Cam and Caudron entered the 1/8 round before clashing in the final round. In the first half, Caudron won 15-4 after playing only three legs, to take a 1-0 lead. But the Vietnamese player managed to win the next three rounds in a row with a score of 15-11, 15-8 and 15-2, respectively. He won the final 3-1, with a performance (Average) of up to 2,882 points per muscle.
Minh Cam finished the group stage with three wins. Previously, he beat Park Kwang-yeol 3-1 in the first match, averaging 1,742 points on March 19. He beat Yim Sung-kyun 3-0 in the second game by averaging 1,552 points two days later. The 47-year-old’s average since the start of the tournament is 1,922 points, behind Eddy Leppens (1,938 points).
Caudron is a former UMB world number one, a 21-time World Cup winner, and a three-time world champion (UMB World Championship). The 54-year-old Belgian moved to the PBA in 2019, and is number one in the PBA so far. Minh Cam also won a bronze medal at the 2017 UMB World Championship.
The remaining Vietnam players in the group stage also won them all, Nguyen Huynh Phuong Linh. On March 19, he defeated Turkish fighter Birol Uymaz 3-2. The 29-year-old’s average is 1,727 points per muscle round. Two days later, he continued to beat Lee Jong-joo 3-2, having led 2-0. In the last round, Phuong Linh won 11-0 through two rounds. The average for this match is 1,645 points.
Despite winning the first two games, Phuong Linh’s chances of continuing the match were not guaranteed at that time. On the afternoon of March 23, he won the last game against Cho Keon-hwi 3-0 to secure the top spot, averaging 1,607 points. And Phuong Linh’s average in the group stage reached 1,663 points. The results of the 1/8 round branching have not yet been announced.
The PBA Professional Billiards Association was established in Seoul, South Korea, February 2019. However, players who switch to PBA will not be able to compete in the World Billiards Federation (UMB) tournament. Frederic Caudron and Eddy Leppens are two of the world’s top players who moved to the PBA. In addition, 15 of the world’s top 100 players also switched to PBA in the first year. Vietnam has top players playing in the PBA, such as Minh Cam, Phuong Linh or Duong Anh Vu.
The PBA World Championships ran from March 19 to March 28, with a total prize pool of 400 million won (7.5 billion VND), almost three times more than the UMB World Championships. The PBA world champion will receive 200 million won (VND 3.75 billion). In the 2021-2022 PBA season, Caudron leads with over VND 5.8 billion in prize money. Phuong Linh was ranked 7th with 770 million dong, and Minh Cam got 216 million dong.