Alcano falls at Villar Cup Day One

Manny Villar makes the ceremonial break to open the event

Benjie Guevarra once again proved that he is indeed one of the rising stars of Philippine billiards as he scored a stunning 8-4 upset of former double world champion Ronnie Alcano yesterday at the start of the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup Billiards Tournament at the Sports Center of StarMall Alabang in Muntinlupa City.

The 30-year-old Guevarra, a member of the star-studded Bugsy Promotions of businessman Perry Mariano, came up with superb pocketing took and control of the cue ball as he caught Alcano flatfooted for the victory that highlighted eventful opening day of this P1 million-plus tournament organized by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP).

“I'm very happy that I won, as I was really determined to prove that I can be one of them,” said Guevarra, once the country's top snooker player before shifting his focus to billiards.

He was elevated to compete with the country's top cue artists in the Top Guns Challenge only after winning the fourth leg of the Search for the New Billiards Idol.

“I was not intimidated by Ronnie because I've already faced him a number of times before. I actually felt lucky I drew him this early because he is more dangerous when facing elimination,” added the 2007 Southeast Asian Games bronze medalist.
Guevarra actually started the match on a wrong foot, winning the lag but surrendered the first two racks his heavily-favored opponent.

But as soon as Alcano committed the first of his many uncharacteristic mistakes, Guevarra readily seized the opportunity and pocketed seven of the next eight racks to turn the tide in his favor and reach the hill with plenty to spare.

A dry break of the 11th rack allowed Alcano to notch his fourth point, but this proved to be his last as his poor safety shot of the yellow-1 in the succeeding rack gave the table back to Guevarra, who wasted no time in closing the match.

The win put Guevarra in a second-round encounter with fellow rising star Elmer Haya of the Negros Billiards Stable of Jonathan Sy. Haya drew a first-round bye.

Alcano, on the other hand, dropped to the complicated one-loss side, where he must avoid another defeat to keep his bid for the title and the P400,000 that goes with it.
Also winning the first matches were current world no.1 Dennis Orcollo, reigning national champion Lee Van Corteza, former Asian Games gold medalist Antonio Lining and another top young prospect in Russian Petiza.

Orcollo, who won Quezon City 9-Ball Championship last March, made mincemeat of Ricky Zerna, 8-3, while Corteza trounced Mary Ann Basas, 8-4, and Lining downed 2007 national juniors titlist Mark Mendoza, 8-5. Petiza demolished Panfilo Damuag, 8-2.

In the Billiards Idol Sipag at Tiyaga Edition, Bugsy boys Mike Takayama, Emil Martinez, Michael Feliciano and Renemar David won their respective opening matches to show the way in the 120-man field of third-tiered players who flocked to vie for the P200,000 top purse and the equally-handsome Manny Villar Sipag at Tiyaga trophy.

Takayama blanked Ferdinand Villanueva, 5-0; Martinez edged stablemate Egie Geronimo, 5-4; Feliciano shutout Jireh Pugayo, 5-0; and David, the 2006 World Juniors campaigner, outlasted Ryan Cimafranca, 5-3.

A short and simple opening ceremony ushered that start of the competition. There, Senator Villar declared his all-out support to billiards, which he called “as the sport we can call our own.”

“Billiards is already one of the most popular sports in the world, and we should take advantage of having the top players and continue to develop the sport,” said Villar, who was joined by BMPAP president Atty. Vic Rodriguez, Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Eric Buhain, managers Aristeo “Putch” Puyat, Mariano and Sy, and players led by Efren “Bata” Reyes.