Billiards row worsening

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — IT was the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines’ turn on the table yesterday, and the country’s sole governing body for the sport didn’t waste time in scoring a clean up.

Officials of the BSCP led by chairman Yen Makabenta, accused the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) as the one which really manipulates players in an effort to advance its own selfish interest.

In a harshly written statement, Makabenta pointed his tirade to known billiards managers Perry Mariano and Aristeo ‘Putch’ Puyat as the primary movers behind the decision of some of the country’s top pool artists to go against the BSCP leadership under him and president Ernesto Fajardo.

Makabenta had been earlier criticized by the BMPAP for his conflict of interest, being a top official of BSCP while at the same time, acting as president of Raya Sports, the outfit that organizes and promotes billiards tournaments in the country including the last two stagings of the World Pool Championship.

The group also deplored the ‘arrogant’ and ‘dictator-like’ manner by which Makabenta runs the BSCP affair.

“This is about money, first and foremost,” said Makabenta during a BSCP luncheon at the Pantalan Restaurant yesterday. “There is also the promise and great danger of game fixing and illegal gambling taking over if the managers have their way.

“And we know who are driving this war. They are the player managers and they are actually just two, Perry Mariano and Aristeo Puyat,” he added.

Last week, the BMPAP was launched by Mariano and Puyat, stressing the organization was founded to protect the interest of the players and the sport itself.

But the BSCP claimed otherwise, questioning the huge 40-percent cut being made by managers on their players and its refusal to allow the pool artists from representing the country in international meets and in competing in BSCP-sanctioned tournaments in the country.

In an e-mailed statement over the weekend, Mariano vowed to attend the Monday press conference of the BSCP to ‘response to Makabenta’s challenge and help him in making sure that the truth will come out.’

Unfortunately, the well-known head of Bugsy Promotions was a no-show and instead, it was his players who stood by him and came to his defense through a sent press statement.

“Wala kaming problema d’yan sa 40-percent na kinukuha sa amin dahil alam namin na kulang pa ‘yan na pantakip sa ginagastos nila sa amin,” said former double world champion Ronnie Alcano.

“Hindi kami magpapadala sa mga paninira dahil alam namin kung sino ang totoong may malasakit sa bilyar,” said former Asian Games gold medallist Gandy Valle. “Si sir Perry ang kauna-unahang manager na nagbigay ng sweldo kahit nung hindi pa sikat ang mga players niya.”

But there are also those previously identified with Mariano who now shifted alliance and embraced the BSCP programs.

“Nagpaalam naman ako ng maayos sa kanya. Hindi naman niya ako pinigilan,” admitted Doha Asian Games gold medal winner Antonio Gabica when People’s Journal chanced upon him at one corner of the Pantalan.