At a couple of points during the 2012 APT Asian Series Manila Main Event, Jose Javier Medina was dangerously close to hitting the rail. But the man doesn’t appear to lack in determination, coming back from the clutches of despair to eventually win the tournament in one of the most impressive come-from-behind victories in APT history.
Entering the final table of eight players, Medina had already come back from the bottom of the leader board all the way up to second place at 702,000 in chips, trailing only Malaysia’s Victor Chong who had 1.283 million in chips. But Medina slowly built his chip stack, eventually taking over the lead and watching one competitor after another hit the rail.
First to go bye-bye was New Zealand’s Thomas Ward who found life as the short stack in the final table a little too much to overcome. Nevertheless, Ward still went home with a tidy Php385,000 in prize money. The next one to bust out was the Philippines’ Jessie Leonarez who admitted committing a catastrophic mistake by pushing all his chips on the table with only a King High. As soon as his bluff was sniffed out, it was time to hit the bar for Leonarez, but not before he pocketed Php485,000. Finishing in sixth was Jojo Tech, who still went home with Php 613,000.
The first surprise bust out of the Final Table came when Chong, the chip leader heading into the Final Table, unceremoniously lost all his chips in dramatic fashion. For somebody who was considered the favorite to win the title, fifth place and Php770,000 was a massive disappointment for the Malaysian. “It’s the worst,” Chong replied when asked by CalvinAyre.com’s Angelia Ong how he felt about busting out of the tournament.
“I don’t think many things went wrong; it was just calling a few unavoidable situations.”
Japan’s Hisashi Ogi finished in 4th place, taking home Php955,000 in the process. That amount would have been a good pay day for somebody finishing just outside the Top 3 but Ogi was pretty candid that his prize money was “recovery” money.
“I lost many money yesterday playing blackjack,” a laughing Ogi told Angelia.
Coming so close yet finishing a little earlier than he would’ve wanted was third place finished Jeon Seung So, who went away with Php1.354 million.
From there, the title hinged on the play of two men: Medina and Japan’s Tetsuya Tsuchikawa, who himself had to scrap his way to the heads-up showdown with the Filipino after beginning the FInal Table in sixth place. Despite finishing in second and going home with Php2.01 million, Tsuchikawa was in good spirits after the tournament, telling Angelia that finishing second was a good spot for him considering that “I was in the Final Table last year and finished seventh.”
But the night belonged to the Filipino Medina, who not only walked away as the 2012 APT Asian Series Manila Champion but also pocket the top prize money of Php 3.521 million.
Ever the candid poker player, Median didn’t mince his words when asked how he felt about being the 2012 APT Asian Series Manila champion. “It’s fucking awesome!”