BMPAP blasts BSCP on Guinness 9-Ball Tour

Pool players are up in arms again, this time over the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP)'s arbitrary choice of the country's representatives to the coming 2008 Guinness 9-Ball Tour.

According the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) president Atty. Vic Rodriguez, the players are questioning why the BSCP resorted to the distasteful process of handpicking Marlon Manalo, Antonio “Gaga” Gabica and Jeff De Luna instead of holding, ideally, a qualifying tournament for the three slots it was allotted in this six-leg Asian series.

The BMPAP represents an overwhelming majority of professional Filipino cue artists, including almost all of the country's bests. It is actually the only billiards group recognized by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).

“What's their (BSCP officials) basis for selecting the three?” asked Rodriguez. “Is this their reward for joining Raya and signing up with its Philippine Billiards Development Foundation (PBDF)?”

“Yan nga ngang ‘turo-turo system' na ‘yan ang ikinagalit ng mga players sa kanila, and yet here they are again,” he added.

“This is another injustice not just for the players but also for our country.”

Although the organizers of the tour have yet to formally announce the name of players who will see action in this year's inaugural stage slated from February 29 to March 2 in Taipei, it has been reported that the BSCP has chosen Manalo, Gabica and De Luna to fill the slots given to it. BSCP president Ernesto Fajardo is being quoted in the report.

The three, who, BMPAP spokesman Edwin Reyes noted, were “bottom-dwellers” in last year's edition, will join former world champion Alex Pagulayan and Joven Bustamante, who were chosen by the event's title sponsor, Guinness Beer, for being its product endorsers.

Rodriguez said they will file a protest, which they will send to the organizer thru GAB, the sole authority governing professional sports in the Philippines.

“Filling-up these three slots without holding a Qualifiers, which can be completed in a day, is downright unfair and prejudiced,” said Reyes.

“Is this fair to all other pro players here and the People of the Philippines? Why nominate last year's bottom-dwellers for the three spots available instead of holding a qualifier to determine who has it in their heart to represent the country?” he added.

In further asking for justification on the BSCP's choice, Reyes also pointed to the current WPA ranking, which saw Manalo, Gabica and De Luna trailing many Filipino players, including world no.1 Dennis Orcollo, no.3 Ronnie Alcano, no.6 Joven Bustamante, no.11 Francisco “Django” Bustamante, no.13 Roberto Gomez, no.28 Warren Kiamco, no.32 Efren “Bata” Reyes and even the unheralded Elvis Calasang, who is at no.34.

Manalo is at no.36, while De Luna is at no.56 and Gabica is 119th.

“Aren't those players ahead of them not deserving just because BSCP officials don't like them?” Reyes quipped.