Alcano gets wish

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — NOW Ronnie Alcano gets to realize his dream of owning a billiards center.

San Miguel Corporation yesterday showered the newly-crowned World Pool champion with various incentives, including a check worth P300,000 and a business partnership with the giant food conglomerate.

The 34-year- old native of Calamba, Laguna didn’t have second thoughts on the kind of business he’ll put up.

“Matutupad na rin ang pangarap ko na magkaroon ng bilyaran,” said Alcano during the luncheon San Miguel hosted for him and the other Filipino pool players, led by the legendary Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes, who figured prominently in the 2006 edition of the world 9-ball championship held here last week.

“We are paying tribute to our Filipino players’ achievement with this bonus, particularly to Ronnie Alcano. We at San Miguel welcome him to the elite circle of Filipino pool masters and hope that many would be inspired by his outstanding feat,” said Ramon S. Ang, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of San Miguel.

Similar cash incentives were presented to Reyes, recently named by Time Magazine as among its 60 Asian heroes, and fellow players Francisco ‘Django’ Bustamante, Rodolfo Luat, Jeffrey ‘Bata’ de Luna and Jharome Pena.

The compensation is the latest in a series given to Alcano since his outstanding 17-11 demolition of highly-favored Ralf Souquet of Germany in the World Pool Championship final Sunday night at the PICC.

For his feat, Alcano won the top purse of $100,000 (roughly P5 million).

A few days later, he was conferred the Order of Lakandula, with the rank of Champion for Life by President Macapagal-Arroyo following a courtesy call at Malacanang. Alcano subsequently received a cool P1 million check from the Chief Executive no less.

Reyes and Co. also lauded Alcano for his stirring victory in the $400,000 event staged in the country for the very first time.

“Nagkaka-edad na rin naman kami kaya maganda na may nakikita kaming mga bata na nananalo,” said the 52-year- old Reyes.

“Kahit hindi kami ang nanalo, ang mahalaga Filipino pa rin ang nag-kampeon. Itong si Ronnie, matagal na itong naglalaro, hindi nga lang nagpapanalo. Kaya pagbutihin mo, iho,” Bustamante butted in.

Alcano beat Reyes in the Round of 32, 10-7, a job, which he admitted, earned the ire of those idolizing the Filipino pool legend.

“Malakas kasi sa masa si Efren, samantalang ako hindi pa gaanong kilala,” he admitted.

But more than anybody else, it’s Alcano who really looks up to Reyes as his hero. Reason why he also sports a ‘no teeth look’ while playing the game.

“Simula nung nag-desisyon akong maglaro ng bilyar, ginaya ko na ang pagkatao niya,” said Alcano, eliciting laughter from the packed crowd that gathered at the second floor room inside the SMC Bldg. in Ortigas.

Unknown to many, Alcano emerged champion in the San Miguel-sponsored SMB 9-Ball Rising Stars held in 2001.