PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE country’s premier pool stars—Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante—have promised to join the National Pool Championships scheduled from March 26 to 31 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines chairman Yen Makabenta said that the National Pool Championships, will be a clash of Filipino champions since the acknowledged godfather of Philippine pool, Aristeo “Putch” Puyat, had assured BSCP president Ernesto Fajardo that Reyes and Bustamante, who skipped last year’s tournament, will definitely play.
Also joining the tournament will be 2006 World Pool champion Ronnie Alcano as well as Dennis Orcollo, Marlon Manalo and a host of other pool stars, including talented youngsters led by Jeffrey de Luna.
Makabenta and Fajardo, who were guests at the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, said Filipino pool fans can expect a full calendar of events this year, highlighted by the return of the World Pool Championships from Nov. 3 to 11, which Makabenta said would be “even bigger and better than last year.”
Named pool’s Man of the Year in the 11th Annual Awards of the prestigious Billiards Digest, Makabenta said with the tremendous national and international response to the staging of the WPC last year, he expected more tourists to visit Manila for the event.
Makabenta, who is president of Raya Sports, which won commendation for its hosting of the 2006 World Pool Championships, said the National Pool Championships will feature a top prize of P500,000 with the added incentive of four outright slots in the WPC.
The event will also be used as part of the criteria in the selection of the Philippines’ representatives to the Southeast Asian Games in Bangkok in December. The women’s division will offer a top prize of P200,000 and two slots in the Southeast Asian Games squad.
Fajardo disclosed plans to stage an 8-Ball National Championship in the middle of the year, where Reyes, who won the IPT World Open 8-Ball Championships last year, is regarded as almost unbeatable. He said the 8-Ball event will help determine the country’s representatives to the SEA Games.