MANILA, Philippines?Britain had its own surprise package.
Darren Appleton, a veteran who hadn't really hit it big, prevailed in a classic shootout against Taiwanese superstar Wu Chia-ching, 13-11, Sunday night and became the first ever World Ten Ball champion.
The 32-year-old from West Yorkshire built a commanding early lead, then held his nerves at crunch time to secure the biggest title of his career before a handful of his flag-waving countrymen in the gallery.
Appleton's victory at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay city meant that the last two world billiards championships are now in the hands of Englishmen, with Darryl Peach, the highest-regarded Briton at the start of the event, reigning as the 9-ball king.
"I've waited 16 years for this," said Appleton, who defeated Niels Feijen in the semifinals, 11-9, Saturday night.
"I had mixed feelings and I was looking back at my disappointments in the past. I was ranked first (earlier in the decade) in the world but I have never won a world championship."
The victory was viewed as an upset by many, especially after Wu came into the $100,000 match still unscathed.
Wu settled for the runner-up purse of $40,000.
Demosthenes Pulpul, who until Saturday night kept Filipino hopes alive in the $400,000 event, earlier fell short against Feijen, 11-8, to finish fourth and settle for $15,000.
Still, the prize was the biggest in the nine-year career of the 23-year-old from Cagayan de Oro City whose sizzling six-match winning streak was ended by Wu, 11-8, in the semifinals.
Appleton won the lag, six of the first seven racks, and nine of the first 13 before Wu, looking to become the first man to win three world titles in as many events, found his groove and made the match interesting.
The Taiwanese crept to within 9-10, but then jumped the cue ball off the table after making the No. 1, allowing the Englishman to take the hill.
But Wu clawed back to 11-12 before breaking dry on the 24th rack.
Aside from being the best Filipino finisher here and earning some money to help start a business for his mother and wife, Pulpul also earned substantial fame and acclaim here.
"Mas sikat na ako ngayon (People know me now)," Pulpul said. "Dati, mga kaibigan ko lang ang bumabati sa akin, ngayon may humihingi na ng (Before, only my friends knew me. Now, people even approach me for) autograph."